YORK, Pa. – Castleton University attempted to put together a rally in the ninth inning, but it fell just short as Virginia Wesleyan University held on for a 4-3 victory Friday afternoon in an elimination game at the 2018 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament Mid-Atlantic Regional at PeoplesBank Park.
With one out in the top of the eighth inning for Virginia Wesleyan, Randy Neisz singled, Jacob Pilarski walked, and both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Zach Clark sent a deep fly ball to right field that scored Neisz, and Brady Fallon followed with a single to left field to drive in Pilarski and extend the Marlin lead to 4-2.
Matt Braman led off the bottom of the ninth inning with an infield single and stole second base. With one out, Pat Mumford sent a single into right field, and an overthrow by the Marlin outfielder allowed Braman to score and bring the Spartans within one. However, Marlin reliever Glen Pizzanello induced consecutive flyouts to close out the game.
Castleton struck first, as Deagan Poland led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and advanced to second on a groundout. Jonathan Lindau laced a double down the right field line, driving in Poland with the Spartans' first run of the tournament.
Virginia Wesleyan (29-15) answered in the top of the second inning with a two-out rally, starting with a double by Clark that landed just inside the left-field line followed by a bloop single to right-center field from Fallon that drove in Clark. Jordan Sprouse kept the inning going with a single, advancing Fallon to third, and then a Castleton error allowed Deon Hammond to reach base and Fallon to score, giving the Marlins a 2-1 lead.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth when Poland advanced to third on a single to left field by Davis Mikell. Mikell took off on a steal attempt and the Marlin catcher threw towards second base, allowing Poland to race home to successfully execute the double steal and tie the game at 2-2.
The Marlins put together a scoring opportunity in the top of the sixth inning as Clark was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Fallon hit a single into left field, but Braman was able to throw out Clark attempting to score, keeping the game tied.
Garrett Moran started the game for Castleton and allowed just six hits, three walks, and two runs, one of them earned, in seven innings. Aaron Smith took the loss after giving up the two runs in the eighth inning.
Castleton concludes the 2018 season with a 30-12 overall record.