CASTLETON, Vt. – Castleton's baseball team looks to complete the season sweep of New England College this afternoon at 2:00 pm when they host the Pilgrims for a North Atlantic Conference doubleheader at Spartan Field.
The Spartans have been one of the top teams in the region this season, posting a 24-9 record, including an impressive 16-2 mark in the NAC. The team is currently on a 16-game winning streak following a four-game sweep over rival Husson. Castleton took the first two games on Saturday by scores of 7-4 and 3-1 before claiming Sunday's doubleheader – 3-2, 2-0 – to capture the season series.
So far this season, Nick Swim has anchored a Spartan lineup that's hitting an even .300 on the year. Swim is currently on a 23-game hitting streak and leads the conference in batting average (.438), hits (56) and RBIs (39) to go along with 14 doubles, three home runs, 41 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. Jim Buckley is hitting .330 on the year with 26 RBIs and 18 runs scored, while Dan Errico has driven in 25 runs and notched 11 extra-base hits with a .318 average. Other top contributors include, Zach Bahan (.321), Pat Mumford (.313), Dillon Benham (.304) and Taylor Vile (.301), who are each hitting above .300 on the year.
Sam Spencer and Steven Jurkiewicz have anchored the top pitching staff in the conference. Spencer is 5-2 on the year with a 3.12 ERA, 40 strikeouts and five complete games. Jurkiewicz, meanwhile, holds a 4-2 mark with one save, three complete games and a 3.27 ERA in 44 innings of work. Charles Stapleford (5-1) has been just as impressive in his debut season, posting a team-leading 2.00 ERA and 34 strikeouts with three complete games.
New England College heads into this afternoon's tilt with a 6-20 (5-13 NAC) mark after dropping a four-game set with Maine-Farmington this past weekend. The Beavers outscored the Pilgrims 36-14 to complete season sweep and extend the squad's losing streak to eight games.
At the plate, NEC has struggled this year, posting a collective average of .269 with 97 runs scored in 26 games. Leading the way has been Conor Crouse, who boasts a .376 average. In 85 at-bats, the junior has knocked five doubles and two triples with seven RBIs and 25 runs scored. Vincent Backert is hitting .353 on the year with 13 RBIs, whereas Zach Carrano has driven in 12 runs with five runs scored and a .328 average.
The Pilgrims' struggles have carried over to the mound, where the team sports a 6.07 ERA with 200 runs allowed in 174 innings pitched. Backert has been the top pitcher so far with a 3-2 mark. In five appearances, the junior has notched a team-leading 3.33 ERA with four complete games in 33.2 innings of work. Manuel Alejandro is 1-4 on the year despite a 3.50 ERA, while Ellijah Holland and Christopher States have picked up one win apiece.
These two squads met for a doubleheader earlier in the season, with Castleton claiming the sweep. The Spartans took game one 15-4 following an 11-run seventh inning before claiming the finale 10-4.