Gratton Deals Spartans to Series-Opening Win Over UMF

Gratton Deals Spartans to Series-Opening Win Over UMF

BANGOR, Maine – The Castleton baseball team opened its four-game North Atlantic Conference series against UMaine-Farmington with a 2-1 victory on Saturday evening behind a strong pitching performance from Joe Gratton and timely hitting on offense.

With the win, Castleton moved back to .500 at 8-8 overall and improved to 2-1 in conference action. UMaine-Farmington fell to 4-8 on the season and 1-2 in the NAC after the loss.

Gratton won the pitching duel, allowing one earned on three hits with a walk and six strikeouts over a seven-inning complete game to improve to 4-2 on the season.

Matt Braman led Castleton with two hits, an RBI, and a run scored. Ryan Wadsworth finished 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Mitchell Caron, Davis Mikell, and Dillon Benham each finished with a hit apiece.

The Spartans scored both of their runs in the bottom of the second. Caron jump-started the inning with a one-out single up the middle. After stealing second and advancing to third on a throwing error by the UMF catcher, Caron raced home on an infield single by Braman to get on the board.

Wadsworth doubled the Spartans' lead one batter later with an RBI triple to center. On a full-count pitch, Wadsworth belted a sinking line drive to center, forcing the UMF center fielder to leave his feet in attempt to make the catch. The ball dropped in front of him, however, and rolled to the warning track for a standup triple as Braman came all the way around to score from first and stretch the Spartans' lead to 2-0.

UMF cut the deficit in half in the top of the fourth. Nick Attaliades-Ryan worked a walk to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a single through the right side by Taylor Lockhart. Kevin Carter followed with an RBI single to third base, but Jonathan Lindau picked off a runner at second and Gratton induced an inning-ending lineout to hold the lead at 2-1.

Gratton set down the Beavers in order over the final three innings, capping off his complete game with a strikeout to secure the 2-1 victory for the Spartans. 

Nate Pushard went the distance for UMF, allowing two earned runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over six innings. Lockhart led the Beavers with two hits. 

Saturday's night cap was suspended and the two teams will play three games on Sunday at Bridgton Academy. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m.