Spartans Walk Off Twice to Take Two From Husson

Spartans Walk Off Twice to Take Two From Husson

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton baseball team walked off twice on Saturday to take both ends of a doubleheader over Husson, 2-1 and 6-5 in eight innings, in North Atlantic Conference action at Spartan Field. 

With the wins, Castleton extended its winning streak to 10 straight games and reached the 20-win mark for the 13th consecutive year. The Spartans are now 20-9 overall and 14-2 in conference play, while Husson fell to 11-16 on the season and 7-7 in league action with the losses.

Davis Mikell and Deagan Poland provided the late heroics in both games, as Mikell drove home Poland for the winning run in back-to-back contests.

Castleton 2, Husson 1

Game one was a pitchers' duel between Joe Gratton and Husson's Jesse Colford. Gratton went the distance and allowed one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts to improve to 6-2 on the season. Colford suffered the loss after allowing two runs on nine hits with two strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.

Andrew Graciano sparked the Spartans in the bottom of the second with a leadoff double. After advancing to third on a ground ball by Steven Walsh, Pat Mumford drove a chopper to second base and the throw home was too late as Graciano slid under the tag to give Castleton an early 1-0 lead.

Husson quickly responded in the top of the third with a two-out rally to tie the game. Conor Maguire doubled to left center and came around to score on a single to center by Mike Wong to level the game at 1-1.

Castleton recorded at least one hit in every inning but could not scratch across a run until the seventh. Gratton equaled his counterpart on the mound to keep the game 1-1 long enough for the Spartans to win it in the seventh.

In the Spartans' final at-bats, Poland delivered a single to center on an 0-2 count to get the winning run on base. He was not there for long, as Mikell pounded a deep fly ball off the bottom of the wall in center field to score Poland from first and give the Spartans the 2-1 victory.

Castleton 6, Husson 5 (Eight inn.)

Castleton used its momentum from game one to open a 2-0 lead in the home half of the first inning in the nightcap. Poland led off with a single to center and Jonathan Lindau worked a one-out walk to put two runners on base. Mitchell Caron blistered an RBI single to right center and Lindau later scored on a wild pitch.

Husson responded with three runs on three hits in the top of the second. Sam Huston and Luke Covey both singled to start the inning and came around to score on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice fly by Maguire. Wong later worked a bases-loaded walk as the Eagles took a 3-2 lead.

After Husson stretched its lead to 5-2 in the top of the fourth, Castleton began to chip away down the stretch.

The Spartans made it a one-run game with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the fifth. Lindau belted a one-out double to right center and traded places with Dillon Benham, who lined an RBI double to right center. Benham later stole third and scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 5-4.

In the bottom of the sixth, Poland worked a one-out walk and was quickly on third after Mikell lined a single into right field. Lindau came to the plate and lofted a deep sacrifice fly to right field to score Poland from third and tie the game at 5-5.

Neither team was able to tack on a run in the seventh as the game went to extra innings. Jacob Nadeau notched two strikeouts in a perfect top of the eighth to set the stage for Castleton in the home half of the eighth.

With two outs, Poland once again found a way on base with a full-count walk. After Husson changed pitchers, Mikell belted the first pitch he saw deep to right field and Poland raced around the bases to score the game-winning run as Castleton walked off for the 6-5, comeback victory.

Nadeau picked up his first career win after tossing two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Aaron Smith and Sam Sylvain combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief. Zac Harrington started for the Spartans but did not factor in the decision after allowing five earned runs on nine hits with three walks over three innings.

The two teams will complete their four-game series with another twin bill on Sunday. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m.