Release courtesy of Castleton sports information
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Thomas broke a 3-3 score in the fifth inning on the way to a 4-3 victory over Castleton in the North Atlantic Conference baseball opener for both teams at Chain O'Lakes Stadium.
The Terriers (4-5, 1-0 NAC) and Spartans (6-7, 0-1 NAC) were scheduled to play a doubleheader but the second game of the day was called in the third inning due to inclement weather. Thomas led 2-0 in the third inning of that game.
In the opener, junior Dominic Esposito (Portland, Maine / Deering) was lights out in 2 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win as he retired all seven batters he faced, two by strikeout.
Steven Jurkiewicz took the loss as he tossed five innings of six-hit ball. He gave up four runs, three earned, with two walks and three strikeouts. Sophomore Zac Harrington threw a scoreless inning of relief.
Zach Bahan went 2-for-4 in the contest with two RBI while Nick Swim had one hit, one run and a walk. Deagan Poland finished 1-for-3 with a steal.
For Thomas, sophomore Alex Curtis (Monmouth, Maine / Monmouth Academy) finished 2-for-3 with and RBI while seniors Nik Beeson (Manchester, N.H. / Trinity) and Derek Kane (Natick, Mass. / Natick) each went 1-for-2 with a run and RBI.
The Spartans jumped on the Terriers in the top of the first. Swim drew a one-out walk and Dan Errico followed with a double to center, putting runners on second and third. Bahan came through with a single to score both for a 2-0 advantage. Thomas starter Isiah Fleming (sr., Fairfield, Maine / Lawrence) got out of the inning with two strikeouts, the final with runners on first and second.
Thomas responded in the bottom of the frame with three runs to take the lead. Senior Anree Benitez (Orlando, Fla. / University) led off with a walk and Kane ripped a run-scoring triple to the wall in right field. Beeson kept the offense going with an RBI single, and came around to score on a single by Curtis to make it 3-2.
Castleton evened the game up in the top of the third. The team loaded the bases with no outs courtesy of two Terrier errors, and Mike Ferro then drew an RBI walk to tie it 3-3. A strikeout and force out at home provided the first two outs, before Taylor Vile went down swinging with the bases still loaded to end the inning.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the fifth. Benitez earned a leadoff walk and Kane was hit by a pitch. Beeson advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt and freshman Zach Mathieu (Oakland, Maine / Messalonskee) lifted a pitch out to center, allowing Benitez to score on the sacrifice for the 4-3 lead. Jurkiewicz induced a popup to end the inning.
Castleton went down in order over the final two innings as Esposito was lights out. Fleming had a no-decision as he went 4 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two earned runs and walked four while striking out seven.
The Terriers return to action tomorrow when they finish the second game at noon before starting the day's scheduled doubleheader.