CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton hits the road this afternoon, as the squad travels to Henniker, N.H. to face off with the New England College Pilgrims in a North Atlantic Conference Doubleheader at 2 pm.
The Spartans are currently on a ten-game winning streak and head into this afternoon's contest with a 18-9 overall record and 10-2 spot in the NAC following a 9-3 victory in non-conference play yesterday over Norwich. Nick Swim maintained his torrid stretch, going 2-fo-4 with a three-run home run, while Luke Salerno picked up the win with seven innings of three-run baseball.
So far this season, Swim has anchored a Spartan lineup that's hitting .294 and averaging 6.78 runs per game. The senior shortstop holds a conference-leading .426 average with nine doubles, two triples, three home runs, 34 RBIs and 34 runs scored. In the last six games alone, he's gone 16-for-25 with four doubles, two home runs, 19 RBIs and 11 runs scored. Fellow senior Dan Errico has hit at a .338 clip this season with two home runs and 23 RBIs, while Zach Bahan has hit safely in 14 straight games with a .326 clip. Other top performers include Jim Buckley and Deagan Poland, who sport respective averages of .326 and .304.
The team's success at the plate has been replicated on the mound, where the club's pitching staff boasts a 3.44 ERA with 108 runs allowed in 209 innings pitched. Sam Spencer has the squad's ace this season, posting a 4-2 mark with four complete games and a 3.00 ERA. Devin Hayes is 2-2 on the season with 3.76 ERA and 14 strikeouts, while Michael LaBeau has struck out 18 batters in just 13.2 innings of work.
The Pilgrims head into this afternoon's matchup with a 6-14 (5-7 NAC) spot overall after dropping three of four games to the Thomas Terriers last weekend in conference play. NEC and Thomas split the opening doubleheader – 5-0, 3-2 – but the Terriers were able to sweep the final two games of the four-game set – 6-1, 16-2 – to claim the season series.
Offensively, the Pilgrims hold a .271 average on the year, but are scoring just 3.75 runs per game. Conor Crouse and Vincent Backert have spearheaded the lineup so far, posting respective averages of .354 and .352. Crouse has collected five extra-base hits with 20 runs scored and a .462 slugging percentage, whereas Backert has collected 19 hits with nine RBIs in 54 plate appearances. Zach Carrano is batting .347 on the year and has driven in nine runs, while Lonnie Cohen has produced nine doubles and nine RBIs to go along with a .295 average.
While NEC has performed well at the plate, their pitching staff has struggled as to date. Manuel Alejandro has been the club's top pitcher with a 1-3 mark and 2.43 ERA in 23 innings pitched. Backert sports a 3-1 mark with a 3.67 ERA and three complete games, while Jeam Deleon (0-2) has thrown 14 innings with a 4.50 ERA.
Last season, the Spartans dropped the opening game of the four-game set with NEC, 3-2, but captured the final three games to claim the season series. Castleton was dominant in their three victories, outscoring the opposition 24-6 in that span.