CASTLETON, Vt. -- Playing at home for the first time all season, the Castleton University baseball team dropped a Little East Conference doubleheader - 9-5 and 9-7 - to the No. 3/4 Southern Maine Huskies on Friday afternoon at Spartan Baseball Field.
Castleton falls to 13-16 overall and 5-6 in conference play, while Southern Maine improves to 23-5 and 11-2 in league action.
Joe Gratton (4-3) and Garrett Moran (3-2) were charged with the losses on the mound. Appearing in relief, Max Olmsted, Jacob Nadeau, Zack Marlow, Andy Kenosh, Charlie Stapleford and Mikell all pitched effectively out of the pen.
Baseball returns to action at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday for Senior Day as they host Keene State in LEC competition.
No. 3/4 Southern Maine 9, Castleton 5
Scoring four times in the opening two innings, Castleton grabbed the early momentum and raced out to a 4-2 lead through three. In the opening frame, Mikell worked the count before barreling up a pitch and sending it out of the deepest part of the field for his fifth homer of the season. Following a two-run half for the Huskies, the Spartans put together a two-out rally after Matt Jackson led off with a single to right center.
Stealing second and advancing to third on an errant throw from the catcher, Jackson meandered home on Poland's single, two batters later. Splitting the two players' at-bats, Pat Mumford earned a walk after fouling off six pitches in a 12-pitch plate appearance. Presented with a bases-loaded opportunity due to the Huskies choice to pass on Mikell with an intentional walk, Bailey did not disappoint. The senior shortstop cracked the offering through the right side, scoring two.
Moving to the bottom of the sixth with Southern Maine leading 8-5, Castleton had an opportunity to climb back into the contest with a runner on and the top of the order coming to bat. Poland fouled off a bunt attempt off of himself that was called fair and led to an inning-ending double play. Earlier in the frame, Josh Ferro singled and after being lifted for a pinch-runner saw Ryan Lawrence advance around the horn and score on a fielder's choice play.
No. 3/4 Southern Maine 9, Castleton 7
Strong pitching through the opening three frames held the contest scoreless before Southern Maine exploded for five runs in the fourth. Adding one run apiece through in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, the Huskies held an 8-2 advantage heading into the bottom of the eighth.
Courtesy of four hits and an error, the Spartans posted a five-run inning of their own to bring the score to 8-7 in favor of the visitors. Poland led off with a triple to deep center before scoring as Mikell reached on a miscue. A Bailey double hit to the wall moved Mikell to third and prompted a pitching change. Castleton did not let up, bringing home both runners on Dillon Benham's groundout and Ferro's base hit, respectively, to make it 8-5.
Following Pat Mumford's pinch-hit appearance to relieve Ferro, Brayden Millet went with the second offering he saw and crushed it down the left-field line for his first home run of the season. Earlier in the contest - in the fifth - the Spartans sent two across the plate in the form of Mikell and Andrew Graciano. Reaching on an intentional walk and a single up the middle, respectively, both came racing home as Bailey lined the ball into the right-center field gap.
On the bump, Moran went six innings and struck out four. Entering out of the bullpen, Kenosh, Stapleford and Mikell each went an inning, surrendering two runs combined, while striking out four.
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