Spartans Fall 4-3 to Thomas in NAC Opener

Spartans Fall 4-3 to Thomas in NAC Opener

AUBURNDALE, Fla. – Thomas broke a 3-3 score in the fifth inning on the way to a 4-3 victory over Castleton in the conference-opener for both teams at Chain O'Lakes Stadium. 

The Spartans and Terriers were scheduled to play a doubleheader but the second game of the day was called in the third inning due to inclement weather. Castleton trailed 2-0 in the third inning of that game.

In the opener, Steven Jurkiewicz took the loss as he tossed 5.0 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, Alex Curtis finished 2-for-3 with and RBI while Nik Beeson and Derek Kane each went 1-for-2 with a run and RBI. Dominic Esposito was lights out in 2.1 innings of relief to earn the win as he retired all seven batters he faced, two by strikeout. 

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. Isiah Fleming 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. Anree Benitez 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 Alex 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 Zach Mathieu 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 innings, allowing seven hits, two earned runs and walked four while striking out seven.

The Spartans return to action tomorrow when they finish the second game at 12 pm and then start the day's scheduled doubleheader.