Article & Photo Courtesy of Castleton Sports Information
CASTLETON, Vt. – The Thomas College baseball team dropped the first two games of a North Atlantic Conference four-game series against Castleton on Saturday afternoon at Spartan Field, 7-2 and 5-0.
With the wins, Castleton improved to 21-6 on the season and 12-2 in NAC play, while Thomas fell to 3-27, 3-13.
Castleton 7, Thomas 2
Castleton did most of its damage in two innings, scoring three runs apiece in the second and fourth frames to pull away from Thomas in the opener.
Thomas jumped out to an early lead with a run on two hits in the top of the first. Isaiah Arana (Orlando, Fla.) placed a single into left field before Grant Corbett (Manchester, N.H.) advanced him to third on a single up the middle. Alex Curtis (Monmouth, Maine) followed up with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate the game's first run.
The Terriers' lead did not last long, as the Spartans utilized small ball in the bottom of the second to take the lead for good. After Jonathan Lindau reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, Matt Jackson and Mitchell Caron laid down bunts down the third base line to load the bases. Dylan Bailey scored Lindau on a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at 1-1. After Pat Mumford bunted into no-mans land between the mound and first base, Dillon Benham looped a two- RBI single to right field to give the Spartans a 3-1 lead.
The Spartans pulled away in the bottom of the fourth with three more runs on four hits. Bailey laced a single up the middle, before Mumford and Deagan Poland laid down two more bunt-singles. Benham flared a sacrifice fly to left field, before Davis Mikell belted a two-RBI double off the wall in right center to extend the Spartan lead to 6-1.
Hank Vinall (Blue Hill, Maine) led the fifth inning off with a double down the left field line, and came around to score two batters later when Kyle Fletcher (Monmouth, Maine) popped an RBI single into right field. That proved to be the final hit of the contest for the Terriers, as Castleton starting pitcher Steven Jurkiewicz worked two scoreless frames down the stretch.
Zach Bahan capped off the scoring with a see-an-eye single through the left side, scoring Poland, who earlier reached on an infield single. Jurkiewicz worked a 1-2-3 seventh to preserve the 7-2 victory for the Spartans.
Jurkiewicz improved to 4-1 on the mound with his third complete game of the season. The senior struck out three and scattered five hits with two earned runs over 7.0 innings.
Four Spartans recorded two hits in the game. Benham drove in three runs on a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, while Poland finished 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and two runs scored.
Matt Rutherford (Saco, Maine) took the loss for Thomas, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 12 hits with seven strikeouts over 6.0 innings pitched.
Castleton 5, Thomas 0
The Spartan offense put pressure on Thomas early and cruised behind 6.0 shutout innings from Charles Stapleford to take the nightcap. Stapleford struck out six and scattered six hits to improve to 2-1 on the season.
After Bailey extended his streak to seven-straight games with an RBI in the bottom of the second, the Spartans added three more in the third to take a comfortable lead. Poland worked a walk to start the inning and was quickly on third after Benham lined a single to center. Bahan scored Poland on a fielder's choice, as Benham was tagged out at third on the play. Lindau took a pitch off his elbow to put runners on first and second, before Jackson lined an RBI-double down the left field line. Lindau scored one batter later on a wild pitch that snuck to the backstop, extending the Spartan lead to 4-0.
Mumford laid down his third bunt-single of the afternoon in the bottom of the fourth, before Josh Rylant came in to pinch run. After Poland turned on an inside pitch for a double to left center, Rylant scored on an RBI-groundout by Benham to make it 5-0.
That proved to be the final scoring of the afternoon, as Stapleford finished his strong outing with a pair of strikeouts in the sixth. Cameron Goulet worked a perfect seventh to secure the 5-0 win for the Spartans.
Poland reached base in all four trips to the plate, finishing 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Cody Cousins (Wells, Maine) saddled the loss on the mound for Thomas, allowing five runs on seven his over 4.0 innings. Jay Chenard (Salem Township, Maine) and Rett Adams (Atlanta, Ga.) worked scoreless fifth and sixth innings for the Terriers.
The two teams will the complete the season series with a doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. on Sunday.