DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Behind seven strong innings from game one starter Joe Gratton, the Castleton University baseball team earned a doubleheader split - 3-1 & 1-3 - at UMass-Dartmouth on Friday afternoon at UMD Baseball Field. Due to field conditions at Castleton, the games were played at UMass-Dartmouth with the Spartans as the home team.
Castleton moves to 12-14 and stays at .500 in the Little East with a 4-4 record. UMass-Dartmouth is now 11-14 and 5-5 in conference action.
Gratton - 7 IP, 1 ER, 8K - earned the win in game one, while Andy Kenosh - 2 IP, 0 H, 1K - earned the save in his second straight appearance. Garrett Moran - 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 3K - suffered his first loss of the season (3-1) despite turning in a quality start. Davis Mikell - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2K - relieved Moran and kept the Corsairs off of the board during the final two frames.
Offensively, Mikell recorded two hits in game one and another in the backend of the twinbill to go 3-for-7 with an RBI and walk. Josh Ferro, Dillon Benham and Pat Mumford each notched two hits apiece.
Castleton 3, UMass-Dartmouth 1
Falling behind on a Corsairs run in the top of the second, the Spartans came roaring back, took the lead and did not look back. Leading off the last of the second, Mitchell Caron took first on a hit-by-pitch and advanced to second as Dillon Benham slapped a single into shallow left center. Josh Ferro made it three-straight Spartans to reach base as he collected a hit allowing Caron to score on the play. Benham came home on the next play as John Stewart III ripped the ball into the hole on the right side forcing the first basemen's dive.
Adding another run in the bottom of the third, Benham drove in Mikell who singled through the right side. Moving the latter up to second, Bailey reached first via a fielding error.
Following a Corsairs' single in the third, Castleton starter Gratton set down seven straight batters. More impressive, the senior hurler retired 13-of-15 players between the third and seventh innings. Improving to 2-0 in three appearances as a starter during the 2019 campaign, Gratton has allowed just three earned to the tune of a 1.35 ERA.
UMass-Dartmouth 3, Castleton 1
Combining for the same scoreline in game two, it was UMass-Dartmouth that used early runs to hold off Castleton.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Deagan Poland looped the ball into center to start the game off for the Spartans. Using heads up baserunning, Poland raced to second and around to third on the failed pickoff at first, giving Mikell an RBI opportunity. Chopping the ball to short, the latter did enough to allow Poland to score from third and - at the time - tie the contest.
Similar to Gratton, Moran was able to settle down after an eventful first inning. Between the fifth and seventh frames, he surrendered just one hit.
Castleton has a few days off before returning to action at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Plymouth State. The two teams faced off just a couple of days ago with the Spartans recording the 7-5 victory.
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