Pitching Powers Spartans to Doubleheader Sweep Over UMF

Pitching Powers Spartans to Doubleheader Sweep Over UMF

BANGOR, Maine – The Castleton baseball team used two strong pitching performances to take both ends of a North Atlantic Conference doubleheader against UMaine-Farmington Friday afternoon at Husson's Winkin Sports Complex.

Castleton took the opening game, 2-0, in eight innings, before winning the nightcap, 2-1. With the wins, the Spartans improved to 13-5 overall on the season and 4-2 in the NAC, while UMaine-Farmington fell to 2-11, 2-4.

Castleton 2, UMaine-Farmington 0

Michael LaBeau turned in arguably his best performance of the year on the mound with a complete-game shutout in the opening game. The senior scattered six hits and walked one with seven strikeouts over 8.0 innings pitched to win the pitching duel opposite UMF's combination of Mark Leahy and Chad Snowman.

With the game still scoreless in the top of the eighth, Castleton broke through after Pat Mumford led off with a single and Deagan Poland reached first base on a fielding error. With runners on first and second, Dillon Benham stepped in and flared an opposite field double to score both runners and give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.

UMaine-Farmington put two runners on in the home half of the eighth, but LaBeau finished his outing with a game-ending double play as Mitchell Caron stepped on third for the force out and threw across the diamond to get the runner at first.

Castleton looked to plate the game's first run in the top of the fifth after loading the bases with just one down. Caron walked before back-to-back singles from Dylan Bailey and Mumford had the Spartans set up with the bases full for the top of the order. Leahy escaped the jam, however, forcing a groundout and a strikeout to keep the game scoreless.

The Beavers had a runner in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but LaBeau hung tough with strikeouts in big moments to keep the game scoreless long enough. In the sixth, Tyler Flahan singled to right before Gage Cote sacrificed him over to second with a bunt. From there, LaBeau induced a groundout and ended the threat with a strikeout. In the bottom of the seventh, Derek Bowen led off with a single and advanced to second on a balk. With the winning run on second and no outs, LaBeau stepped up to the task with a strikeout, pop out, and a groundout to send the game into extra innings.

Mumford went 3-for-3 in the opener with a run scored, while Benham's two-RBI double backed LaBeau's gem with the game-winning runs.

Leahy pitched 5.0 shutout innings for UMF and did not factor in the decision. Snowman fell to 0-1 on the season with two runs (one earned) over 3.0 innings of relief.

Castleton 2, UMaine-Farmington 1

Luke Salerno pitched a three-hit gem in the nightcap, improving to 3-0 on the season with seven strikeouts and one unearned run over 6.1 innings pitched. Scott Michaels worked the final two-thirds of an inning to pick up his fourth save of the season.

Mumford gave Castleton an early lead in the nightcap with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third. Bailey led the frame off with a double to left field, and advanced to third on Nick Patierne's groundout. Mumford followed with a fly ball to center deep enough to score Bailey and give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage. Patierne made it 2-0 in Castleton's favor in the fifth inning after stealing third and scoring on the ensuing throw down.

UMaine-Farmington got on the board in the bottom of the sixth without recording a hit. Trevor Hisler struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but a wayward throw to first allowed him to reach base. He advanced twice on a wild pitch, before scoring on an RBI-groundout from Cote. Salerno worked a strikeout and a groundout to end the frame and hold the 2-1 lead.

Salerno began the bottom of the 7th with a strikeout, but was relieved by Michaels after Riley Chickering poked a single into left field. Michaels worked a pop out and a strikeout around a walk to complete the save and preserve the victory for the Spartans.

Bailey went 2-for-3 with two doubles to lead the Spartans offensively.

Gavin Aresenault saddled the loss on the mound for UMF, allowing two earned runs over 5.2 innings to fall to 0-2 on the season.

The two teams will complete the season series with a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch is slated for 3:30 p.m.