CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton shutout New England College 7-0 in the opener before capturing back-to-back wins – 7-5 and 10-1 – to secure a three-game sweep over the Pilgrims this afternoon at Spartan Field.
The Spartans improved to 20-9 (12-4 NAC) with the three victories and have now won 11 of the team's last 13 games. New England College, on the other hand, drops to 7-18 on the season and 4-12 in conference play.
Game one of the three-game set was a continuation from a previous contest that was called off on April 7. Because of this, the Spartans started the top of the first with a 2-0 lead while also having the bases loaded and no outs.
Taylor Vile went 3-for-4 at the plate in this contest with a double and two RBI. Nate Swahn, meanwhile, added two hits with two runs scored and one RBI, while Tyler Lord contributed a pair of singles and three stolen bases.
As the first batter of the continued game, Swahn brought home the opening run of the day after taking a bases loaded walk. Mike Ferro followed with a sacrifice fly to center that plated Zach Bahan before Vile pushed the fifth Castleton run across with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
From then on, both pitchers managed to put zeros on the scoreboard until the fifth frame when Swahn scored on a wild pitch to extend the Spartan advantage to six. Vile then doubled home a run in the seventh, and Sam Spencer tossed a perfect bottom half of the frame to secure the 7-0, shutout victory.
Spencer picked up his third win of the season after tossing a complete game shutout with six strikeouts. Jordan Hubbard, meanwhile, went seven innings with three strikeouts and six earned runs in the losing effort.
In game two, the Spartans outhit the opposition 12-5 and rallied with seven runs in the final four innings of play to capture a 7-5 victory.
Swahn continued his solid day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one double and two RBI. Dan Errico finished 2-for-4 at the dish with a home run and three RBI, while Jim Buckley added two hits of his own.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, the Pilgrim bats came alive in the top of the third, as they produced three hits and five runs to take the first lead of the game. Conor Crouse walked to begin the frame, and Hubbard drove him home in the next at-bat with an RBI double down the left field line. Vincent Backert followed with an RBI single into left to plate the second Pilgrim run of the game.
Later in the third, Francesco DiRe stepped up with two on and two out and delivered a run-scoring double before Garrett Waldron and Crouse added a pair of their own RBI to hand the away side a 5-0 lead.
Castleton responded in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs to close the gap to three. Bahan led off the frame with a double to center, and in the next at-bat, Swahn drove a single to the outfield to bring the runner home. After Swahn advanced to third on Buckley's single, Tyler Hoare hit into a fielder's choice to score the Spartan and make it 5-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, Errico hit a solo shot to left for his third home run of the season before Soren Pelz-Walsh walked with the bases to cut the hosts' deficit to one.
Castleton continued to rally with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to capture its first lead of the game, 7-5. With runners on second and third, Errico sent a bases-clearing single through the left side, and two batters later, Swahn drove the ball to deep center to bring home Errico and give the hosts' a two-run advantage.
In the bottom of the seventh, Ethan Hanson closed out the ballgame with his fourth consecutive scoreless frame, securing a 7-5 Spartan victory. The junior right-hander tossed 4.1 innings of shutout relief with just one hit allowed to pick up his first win of the season. Scott Michaels, meanwhile, took the no-decision after tossing 2.2 innings with five runs (two earned) and three strikeouts in his third career start.
For New England College, Kyle Bernier turned in a solid start with four innings pitched and two earned runs, whereas DiRe took the loss after giving up three runs in 1.2 innings of relief.
In game three, the Spartans outhit the opposition by nine, as Luke Salerno tossed a gem to lead the squad to a 10-1 victory.
The sophomore right-hander was impressive, allowing just one earned run and three hits in seven innings pitched to improve to 2-1 on the season. Matt Krum, meanwhile, took the loss for the Pilgrims after allowing ten runs (three earned) in five innings pitched.
Castleton opened the contest with back-to-back singles before Swim walked to load the bases. Errico then followed with a grounder to second that resulted in an error, allowing a pair of runs to score. In the next at-bat, Josh Jennato singled to right to bring home Swim, and an errant throw at third, allowed Errico to also come home and give the hosts a four-run lead.
Buckley capped off the scoring two batters later, as he knocked an RBI double to right field to make it 5-0 in favor of the Spartans.
The Pilgrims were able to get one back in the top of the third to close the gap to four, but Castleton answered with three runs in the bottom half of the frame to take an 8-1 lead.
With two on and nobody out, Nick Patierne drove a two-run single to center to extend the hosts' lead to six. Lord followed with an RBI single later in the frame to plate the third Spartan run of the frame.
Castleton added two runs in the fourth and fifth innings en route to capturing its third straight victory of the day and claiming the season series against New England College with a 10-1 decision.
The Spartans return to action tomorrow afternoon, as they travel to Lyndonville, Vt. to face the Lyndon St. Hornets in the first two games of a four-game, home-and-home series. The two squads will face off again on Thursday at Spartan Field to complete the four-game set.