The Spartans used the longball to get past Maine-Farmington, firing off a pair of mammoth home runs to earn an 8-2 win over the Beavers in game five of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament on Saturday evening.
Dan Errico and Nate Swahn both went deep in the fourth inning to give the Spartans the offensive boost they needed to get past the Beavers. Conner Johnson earned the win on the mound going the distance, tossing nine innings and allowing just two runs (one earned) on nine scattered hits.
Castleton scored their first run of the game in the top of the third, manufacturing a score without registering a hit. Soren Pelz-Walsh led off the rally with a walk, and beat out a fielder's choice at second base to put two on with none out. Tyler Lord laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners and Allen White produced an RBI groundout to put the Spartans on the board.
It was in the fourth that the Castleton offense exploded. Dan Errico led off the inning with a solo bomb that nearly hit the scoreboard, about 400 feet away from home plate. Two batters later Macyn Clifford ripped a double to the gap, and Nate Swahn followed with a two-run bomb over the left field fence that put the Spartans ahead 4-0.
In the fifth, Castleton added another run onto their lead, taking a 5-0 advantage. Tyler Lord led off the inning with a single, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI single by Matt McNamee.
Maine-Farmington got in the board in the bottom of the frame with an RBI single from Dustin McCrossin. With runners on first and second and two outs, McCrossin chopped a ball up the middle that glanced just off the tip of a Spartan glove and into the outfield.
The Spartans tacked on another run in the top of the sixth. Soren Pelz-Walsh earned a leadoff walk, and moved along to second on a single from Taylor Vile. The pair of baserunners advanced on a wild pitch to put runners on second and third with one out. Tyler Lord drove a ball to deep right that allowed Pelz-Walsh to tag and score from third, making it 6-1.
Castleton continued to extend their lead in the seventh when they added two more runs. Nate Swahn and Dan Errico each came around to score on a pair of errors by the Beavers to extend the lead to 8-1
Maine-Farmington cut into the lead with three hits in the bottom of the seventh. Dustin McCrossin ripped a double to the gap and was followed by back-to-back singles from Ben Keene and Jimmy Neal that brought the second baseman around to score. The run made it 8-2, but that was as close as the Beavers would get as Johnson shut the door through the final innings.
Neal took the loss for Maine-Farmington, tossing 4.2 innings and allowing five earned runs on five hits. Mark Leahy, Bradley Jackson and Nick Cartmell combined for 4.1 innings of relief, allowing just one earned run combined.
Castleton will return to action on Sunday morning at 10:00am in the NAC Championship game. The Spartans who have suffered one loss in the tournament, will face Husson for the second time, hoping to force a seventh and final game in the double-elimination tournament.