Spartans Set to Face USM in NCAA Regionals Thursday

Spartans Set to Face USM in NCAA Regionals Thursday

CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton baseball team is geared up for the Division III Baseball Tournament as the North Atlantic Conference Champion Spartans take on nationally-ranked University of Southern Maine in the opening round of the New York Regional at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Onondaga Community College Baseball Complex.

Tickets for the tournament will be available on site. Gates open daily at 10 a.m. Full tournament information is available at the New York Regional web page. Click here to view the full 56-team field with each regional bracket.   

#5 Seed Castleton (34-8)

Castleton has won 15 of its last 17 games entering the tournament. The Spartans won the NAC regular season title, and then won four straight elimination games in the conference tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA Regionals for the fifth time in six years.  

Castleton has been anchored by the nation's top pitching staff, as its collective earned run average ranks No. 1 in the country with an ERA of 2.07. Devin Hayes in 7-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 58 innings. Hayes has not allowed an earned run in nearly a month, as he has tossed three straight complete-game shutouts and pitched 24 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to April 20. Michael LaBeau, the reigning NAC Pitcher of the Year, is 5-3 with one save and 53 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. Luke Salerno is 7-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 48.2 innings pitched, while NAC Rookie of the Year Davis Mikell is 6-1 with 63 strikeouts in 47 innings and ranks fifth in the nation with a 0.96 ERA. Scott Michaels has made six saves in 10 appearances out of the bullpen with 13 strikeouts in 12.1 innings. Aaron Smith has made nine appearances out of the bullpen, going 1-0 with two saves and a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings of work. As a staff, the Spartans have amassed more than three times as many strikeouts (301) as earned runs (74), and are holding batters to a .226 average with 20 complete games and 11 shutouts.

The Spartan offense is batting .292 as a team, while averaging nearly six runs per game with 96 extra base hits, including 24 home runs, in 42 games. Pat Mumford has paced the offense with a .337 average, collecting 31 hits with two doubles, two triples, and 12 RBI in 92 at-bats. Mikell is batting .326 and leads the team in on-base percentage (.434) and slugging percentage (.623) with 45 hits, 24 walks, 10 doubles, nine home runs, and 32 RBI. Deagan Poland has posted a .324 batting average and leads the team in hits (48), runs (37), and stolen bases (28). The sophomore ranks seventh in the nation in sacrifice bunts with 13 on the season. Dillon Benham leads the team with 36 RBI and has 46 hits with five doubles, a triple, and three home runs. Zach Bahan has a hit in 12 of his last 13 games and is batting .409 (9-for-22) with two home runs, four RBI, and five runs scored over his last five games. Jonathan Lindau has caught fire of late, earning NAC Tournament MVP honors after batting .353 (6-for-17) with two doubles, a home run, and eight RBI in his last four games of the conference tournament.

#2 Seed University of Southern Maine (30-11)

No. 21 USM earned the second seed in the regional after receiving one of the 13 Pool C at-large bids. The Huskies won the regular season Little East Conference title, but were ousted by UMass-Dartmouth, 6-3, in the third round of the conference tournament.

The Huskies' offense is batting .324 as a team, good for 28th in the country, while averaging 7.2 runs per game with 128 extra base hits, including 26 home runs, in 41 games. Freshman Dylan Hapworth leads the team in batting average (.404), on-base percentage (.475), and slugging percentage (.735). He has recorded 55 hits, 12 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 43 runs scored, and 38 RBI in 35 games played. Sophomore Zach Quintal is batting .361 with 61 hits, 13 doubles, 12 stolen bases, and 41 runs scored in 41 games. Sophomore Jake Dexter is batting .354 with 22 RBI, while Matt Bender has an average of .347 and has struck out just nine times in 150 at-bats.

USM's pitching staff owns a 3.97 ERA on the year, led by a handful of sophomores in Dalton Rice, Henry Curran, Matt Correale, and Dexter. Rice has made nine starts and is 6-1 with a 3.49 ERA, allowing 23 earned runs on 61 hits with 71 strikeouts in 59.1 innings pitched. Curran is 3-1 in seven starts with a 4.39 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. Correale ranks second in the country with 30 appearances, posting a 5-4 record with two saves and a 2.79 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched. Dexter is 4-1 and has tallied 11 saves in 22 appearances with a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings. 

#1 Seed Oswego State (28-8)

No. 7 Oswego State is the top seed in the regional after winning the SUNYAC title. The conference tournament was cancelled due to inclement weather, giving the Lakers their third straight NCAA tournament appearance.

The Laker offense is batting .304 as a team with a .387 on-base percentage and .448 slugging percentage. Senior Eric Hamilton ranks 13th in the counry wiith a .442 batting average on the season, tallying 61 hits, including 17 doubles and four home runs in 138 at-bats. He leads the team in several offensive categories, including on-base percentage (.494), slugging percentage (.652), runs (36), and RBI (34). Mike Delicarri is batting .343 and leads the team with seven home runs, while John Barnes and Eli Holton have added five home runs apiece.

Oswego State's pitching staff holds a collective ERA of 3.38 with 111 earned runs in 295.1 innings. Tim Cronin and Mitchell Cavanagh have anchored the staff, combining to go 17-0 in 18 starts with 82 strikeouts in 117.2 innings. Cronin has posted a 1.82 ERA with six complete games, while Cavanagh has a 2.31 ERA and is holding batters to a .204 average at the plate. Charles Arcuri and John-Michael Guarino have three saves apiece, combing for 35 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 29 innings of work out of the bullpen.

#3 Seed The College of New Jersey (31-11)

No. 17 The College of New Jersey is the third seed in the regional after capturing the NJAC title. TCNJ shared the NJAC regular season crown and then captured three straight wins in the conference tournament to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.

The Lions are batting .295 as a team with four players hitting over .300. Zachary Schindler leads the way with a .356 clip and has 58 hits, including 10 doubles and six triples, with 37 RBI and 41 runs scored. CJ Gearhart has a .326 average with two home runs and 24 RBI, while Jacob Simon and Patrick Anderson have chipped in with respective batting averages of .308 and .306.

TCNJ's pitching staff has a 3.23 ERA with 134 earned runs in 373 innings pitched. Matt Curry is 8-0 with seven saves in 20 appearances and has posted a 0.87 ERA in 31 innings pitched. Joe Cirillo is 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 77.1 innings, tossing five complete games and two shutouts. Michael Fischer is 6-2 with a 3.53 ERA, while Brandon Zachary has a 4.08 ERA and is 3-3 with 56 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. 

#4 Seed Tufts (30-8-1)

No. 13 Tufts won the NESCAC to earn its automatic berth to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. The Spartans faced Tufts in the second game of the season, falling 6-4 to the Jumbos in nine innings. 

The Jumbos are batting .301 as a team with a .420 on-base percentage in 39 games played. Will Shackelford is hitting at a clip of .380 with nine extra base hits and 28 RBI, while Nick Falkson is batting .377 with 55 hits in 146 at-bats. Tommy O'Hara is batting .344 and leads the offense in home runs (4), RBI (44), runs scored (42), walks (33), and on-base percentage (.497).

The Jumbos' pitching staff has a 3.23 ERA with 118 earned runs in 328.2 innings. Speros Varinos is the ace of the staff with an 8-1 record and a 1.92 ERA in 70.1 innings pitched. He has recorded 78 strikeouts to just 10 walks with two complete games and one save. Tim Superko is 6-1 with a 3.98 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. Ian Kinney has made six saves in 18 appearances with a 3.65 ERA in 24.2 innings. 

#6 Seed Ithaca (28-11)

Ithaca earned the sixth seed after upsetting No. 18 St. John Fisher in the Empire 8 Championship, 10-6, to earn an automatic berth. The Bombers are making their 46th trip to the NCAA tournament. The last time Ithaca was in the NCAA tournament in 2013, it won the regionals and finished third at the Division III World Series.

The Bombers are batting .312 as a team while averaging 7.9 runs per game. Andrew Bailey is hitting .369 average with a .474 on-base percentage in 35 games played, while Ryan Henchey leads the offense in hits (56), RBI (44), and total bases (83) on his way to a .364 average. Sam Little is batting .336 and leads the team with six home runs and a .575 slugging percentage in 37 games played. 

Ithaca's pitching staff has a 4.70 ERA with 175 earned runs in 335 innings. Jake Binder is 8-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 11 starts to lead the starting rotation. Robby Buffis is 6-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 58 innings pitched, while Bailey is 4-2 with 20 strikeouts in 30.1 innings of work. Chris Marinaccio has been a top option out of the bullpen, as he has posted a 1.88 ERA in 12 appearances with 22 strikeouts in 24 innings.