MIDDLEBURY, Vt – Mitchell Caron's RBI double in the sixth led the Castleton University baseball team past the Middlebury College Panthers – 4-3 – on Sunday afternoon at Forbes Field.
Castleton improves to 17-19, while Middlebury falls to 23-11 as both sides close the regular season and prepare for conference championship play.
Three scoreless frames to open the contest gave way to seven runs over the following two and a half innings as Castleton captured a 4-3 advantage and rode it out to earn the victory.
With Dylan Bailey on first via a single through the right side, Caron stroked the 2-0 offering into the left-center gap and all the way to the wall. Motoring around third, Bailey hopscotched his way around the catcher's tag for the eventual decisive run.
Davis Mikell picked up the game's first hit on either side as he lofted a single into left-center field with one gone. Deagan Poland moved around from first after earning a walk previously. He scored on a double play during the next at-bat.
Middlebury answered and collected the lead in the bottom half of the fourth, originally tying the contest with a leadoff solo shot down the left-field line by Alec Ritch. Three straight singles followed with the final one by Hamilton Evans gave the Panthers the 2-1 advantage.
The Spartans flipped the scoreline in the fifth, picking up two to the Panthers' one. Dillon Benham reached on a hit-by-pitch before Josh Ferro cracked the offering up the middle. Earlier in the third, the latter drilled the ball deep to right with nothing to show for it, forcing the fielder all the way to the warning track.
Back-to-back walks to John Stewart III and Andrew Graciano loaded the bases and then forced in the first run in the form of Benham. Moments later, Stewart III took advantage of a wild pitch to give the Spartans the temporary lead once again.
In a similar situation in the last of the fifth for Middlebury, Rory Bordiuk worked a leadoff walk, stole second and third before scoring on an errant pitch, tying the contest at 3-3.
The starting pitchers on both sides cruised through the first three innings without surrendering a hit or allowing a base runner. Castleton's Cameron Goulet went four innings, allowing two earned while striking out five – catching four looking. For Middlebury, Jackson Atwood also went four frames, surrendering one run and ringing up one Spartan. Neither pitcher factored in the final decision.
Casey Piazza (2-1) earned the win in relief for Castleton, going two strong and picking up a strikeout. Andy Kenosh tossed a scoreless seventh before Mikell closed out the contest to pick up his seventh save of the campaign.
Middlebury's Evan Stewart (1-1) took the loss out of the bullpen, giving up three earned over two. Grant Elgarten and Conor Himstead combined for the final three innings in scoreless fashion.
Castleton returns to action at 12 p.m. on Wednesday as it kicks off the Little East Conference Championship against nationally ranked and top-seed Southern Maine. Meanwhile, Middlebury travels to Colby College for a 6 p.m. matchup on Friday as the Panthers open the NESCAC Championship against Tufts University.
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