HAMPTON, Va. - Rallying in a highly-offensive battle that featured 34 hits and 23 runs, the Castleton University baseball team earned a walk-off 12-11 non-conference victory over the St. Vincent College Bearcats on Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium.
Castleton improves to 6-6 to snap a two-game losing streak, while St. Vincent's falls to 6-2.
Trailing by one entering the bottom of the ninth, Evan Newkirk was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Then, Pat Mumford laid down a bunt-single. Two batters later, Davis Mikell singled through the right side to bring in Newkirk to tie the game. Mumford beat the play at the plate on a Dillon Benham infield grounder one batter later to score the winning run.
The Bearcats exploded for six in the top of the sixth inning, but the Spartans clawed back with two in the sixth followed by one each in the seventh and eighth to close the deficit to just one. In the sixth, Mitchell Caron smacked a two-RBI double bringing in Benham and Mikell. Mumford and Matt Jackson hit run-scoring singles in the seventh and eight, respectively, for the next two Castleton tallies.
Knotting the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Castleton got its first two batters on via a couple of fielding errors. Jackson moved the runners over with a perfectly placed bunt single down the third-base line before Newkirk lofted a sacrifice fly into right. Adding another run in the bottom of third, the Spartans put together a small two-out rally, recording two hits to score Deagan Poland following his lead-off base hit.
Poland added his second hit of the day in the last of the fourth, an RBI single that dribbled up the middle, scoring John Stewart III. The latter reached on a soft liner to the left to open the frame and advanced to second on a Newkirk sacrifice bunt. Stealing second, Poland came around to cross home as Mikell barrelled a pitch into the mound that bounced up and into centerfield.
Trailing 5-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth, Dylan Bailey and Caron notched their second hits of the contest for the Spartans to open the frame. Jackson's sacrifice bunt moved the runners over as John Stewart III drove in Bailey on a hard grounder to third. Tied at 5-5, Newkirk put Castleton in front with an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap.
St. Vincent struck for four runs in the top of the fourth to answer Castleton's three straight innings with a run. Partially aided by an error, which kept the inning rolling, the Bearcats used four hits to reclaim the lead for the time being.
Joe Gratton picked up the win in relief for Castleton after tossing 3.2 innings and retiring 10 straight batters to close the contest. He surrendered a pair of runs on three hits with two outs in the sixth. Charlie Stapleford started and lasted 5.1 innings and allowed nine runs, five earned, on 12 hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Stone Holtzman went 4-for-5 for St. Vincent's with an RBI and two runs scored. Matt Morrone and TJ Dailey each finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a run.
Bailey and Caron both were 3-for-5. The former scored three runs while the latter drove in three. Mikell finished 3-for-6 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.
Baseball travels north on its return trip home, stopping for a doubleheader at the Merchant Marine Academy, slated to start at 12 p.m. on Sunday.