YORK, Pa. – Castleton University lost to top seed Rowan University, ranked second in the country in both major polls, 9-0, Thursday night to conclude the first day of the 2018 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament Mid-Atlantic Regional at PeoplesBank Park.
Rowan (34-9) struck first in the bottom of the first inning as Dillon Mendel led off with a single, reached second on a Castleton error, advanced to third on a walk by Monny Strickland, and scored on a groundout by Shawn Leydon. After walking Kyle Golla to load the bases, Castleton starter Joe Gratton struck out Steven Hewa to get out of the inning without any further damage.
Gratton retired the Profs in order in both the second and third innings, but Leydon led off the fourth inning with a single, Golla walked, and Hewa reached on a bunt single, with Leydon scoring on a bad throw to first by Gratton. Justin Provost drove in Golla with a single to right field and then, after another Spartan error loaded the bases, Mendel cleared them with a double down the left field line, extending the Rowan lead to 6-0.
More defensive miscues plagued Castleton in the fifth, as Strickland reached on an error to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a ground out, and came around to score on a single to right field by Golla. With runners on first and third, the Profs put them in motion, and a Spartan throwing error allowed Golla to score Rowan's eighth run of the game.
The Spartans were held to four hits, two of them by outfielder Dillon Benham, as they did not score a run in an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 19 contests. Davis Mikell reached base three times with a hit and two walks, and Pat Mumford earned the other hit for Castleton.
Gratton took the loss for the Spartans, allowing seven hits, four walks, and eight runs, four of them earned, while striking out three batters. Aaron Smith pitched three innings, giving up just two hits and one run with one strikeout.
Mendel led the Profs with two hits and three runs batted in, while Hewa also earned two hits during the game. Drew Ryback picked up the victory after allowing just three hits and three walks in seven innings with six strikeouts. Dan Corvo and Shane Kubrak maintained the shutout with one scoreless inning each.
Castleton (30-11) will face Virginia Wesleyan in an elimination game, currently scheduled for Friday, May 18, at 10 a.m. For the latest schedule updates, along with links to live stats and live video plus other tournament information, visit the Mid-Atlantic Regional website: http://gomacsports.com/sports/2018/2/2/2018NCAABSBREGIONAL.aspx?path=baseball.