Castleton, Vt. - The Spartans needed only one victory to earn the top seed in the North Atlantic Conference Tournament this weekend, but gained a pair of wins in their regular season NAC finale against New England College, shutting out the Pilgrims 3-0 and 18-0.
With the two wins, Castleton finishes their regular season with a 20-3 record within the NAC, and will host the NAC Tournament at the top seed for the third consecutive year. Four Castleton pitchers combined to throw 14.0 scoreless innings as the Spartans rolled to a pair of wins.
In game one, Adam Greenlese toed the rubber for the Spartans and turned in another stellar performance. The senior tossed his second complete game of the season, scattering seven hits and three walks to earn the shutout. Greenlese improved to 4-0 on the year as the Spartans cruised to a 3-0 win.
Nick Leishear pitched well for the Pilgrims in game one as well, but a pair of costly mistakes down the stretch cost him and his team the game. Leishear allowed just one hit through the first four innings, keeping the Spartans off the board and his team in the game, but the pitcher's control began to slip in the late innings, leading to walks, wild pitches, and runs.
In the fifth, Chaz Millet led off the inning by taking a curveball in the small of the back. Nate Swahn sacrificed to move Millet to second with one out. Millet advanced to third on a wild pitch and came in to score on a sacrifice fly down the right field line off the bat of Soren Pelz-Walsh, giving the Spartans the 1-0 lead.
The Spartans tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to take a 3-0 lead. Allen White led off the inning with a single to right field, and moved along to second on a wild pitch. After a walk, Dan Errico bunted his way on base for a single. With the bases loaded, Leishear threw another wild pitch, allowing a run. He then forced Millet to ground into a double play, but another run came in for Castleton, making it 3-0.
The Pilgrims threatened in the top of the seventh, with Chirstopher Smith and Jordan Hubbard hitting back-to-back singles to put two on with one out. With the tying run at the plate, Greenlese forced Brandon Adorno to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play, clinching the regular season conference crown for the Spartans.
In game two, the Spartans brought their bats. Castleton touched up seven different Pilgrim pitchers for 16 hits and 18 runs, crushing NEC, 18-0. Pelz-Walsh went 3-for-4 and White went 2-for-3 in the game. Pelz-Walsh, White, and Ryan Crowley each drove in two RBI as the Spartans offense clicked on all cylinders.
16 different Spartans earned an at-bat during the game, with 11 of them recording at least one hit. Castleton put up at least one run in every inning but the fourth, scoring five in the third and six more in the sixth. Dan Errico and Joe Borowski each ripped doubles, the only two extra base hits of the game.
Devin Hayes earned the start and got the win after allowing just two hits over the first five innings of play. The freshman improved to 3-0 on the year. Connor Kelley and Michael Labeau each provided a hitless inning of relief to close out the game for the Spartans.
For the Pilgrims, Zach Nolan provided one of the few bright spots in game two. With one out and nobody on, the NEC designated hitter slapped a single through right side, recording his first career hit in two years with the team.
The Spartans improve to 23-8 on the year with a 20-3 record within the NAC. The squad will finish their season with a five-game slate of non-conference games beginning Sunday, April 27 when the squad hosts Middlebury for a doubleheader.