HENNIKER, N.H. – Castleton never trailed on the way to a sweep of New England College, beating the Pilgrims 15-4 and 10-4 on Wednesday afternoon in North Atlantic Conference action.
The Spartans stretched their winning streak to 12 games, matching the longest in program history, most recently equaled in 2012. Castleton also scored at least five runs for the 12th consecutive game, while improving to 12-2 in the NAC and 20-9 overall. NEC, meanwhile, dropped to 6-16 with the sweep and 5-9 in the NAC.
Nick Swim paced the offense, going 3-for-6 with four runs and three RBI. Zach Bahan added two hits, five runs and six RBI. On the mound, Devin Hayes earned the win in the opener as he allowed four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts while going 6.0 innings. Steven Jurkiewicz secured the win the second game by tossing 5.0 innings while giving up four runs on seven hits with two walks.
The Spartans got on the board in the top of the first inning, as Deagan Poland reached on an error and then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Swim.
Two innings later Castleton added to its lead with a pair of runs. Swim and Dan Errico each walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second and third on a double steal. Bahan and Jim Buckley followed with consecutive sacrifice flies to score the base runners for a 3-0 advantage.
NEC countered with a run in the bottom of the frame, but Pat Mumford scored on a groundout in the top of the fourth for a 4-1 lead. The Pilgrims' offense added two more runs in the last of the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Castleton maintained its one-run lead until the bottom of the sixth, when NEC loaded the bases with just one out. A single plated one run to tie it, but Hayes got out of more trouble by inducing a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning.
Needing a run to avoid extra innings, the Spartans exploded for 11 runs in the top of the seventh. Bahan broke a 4-4 deadlock, hitting a three-run homer with one out to provide Castleton a 7-4 advantage. Buckley then singled and scored on a Mitchell Caron single for a four-run lead. The Spartan offense kept rolling as they loaded the bases and after a strikeout, Taylor Vile followed with a two-run single. Three batters later and with the bases loaded again, Bahan ripped a two-run double to push Castleton's lead to 13-4. Buckley followed with another two-run double for the 11-run lead before a flyout ended the inning.
Michael LaBeau came on in relief of Hayes and didn't allow in a run in the bottom of the seventh while striking out a batter.
An inning later they loaded the bases with no outs and then Bahan walked to drive in a run. Buckley followed with an RBI groundout for the 4-0 advantage and LaFerriere then walked in a run. Benham drove in the final run of the frame and then stole second, but was stranded with Castleton holding a 6-0 lead.
NEC got two runs back in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 6-2. Then in the fourth they got one run on back-to-back one-out doubles and Jurkiewicz allowed one more run before getting out of trouble up only 6-4.
The Spartans responded in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded, LaFerriere came through with an RBI single, followed by Benham with a sacrifice fly for the 8-4 lead.
Jurkiewicz pitched a clean fifth and Swim added a two-run double in the top of the seventh for the six-run advantage. Aaron Smith pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh with one strikeout to close it out.
The Spartans return to action on Saturday when they host Husson in a crucial four-game series with first place in the NAC on the line.