After playing 18 games on the road in two months, the Castleton State College baseball team won its first two home games of the 2008 season, defeating North Atlantic Conference rival Becker College 7-1 in game one and 7-4 in game two this past weekend. The Spartans found themselves with a one-run deficit two and a half innings into game one on a frigid, snowy Sunday afternoon. The lead was about to change, though, as the Spartans began to capitalize on key miscues by Becker.
After getting two quick sharply-hit groundball outs, Becker’s starting pitcher, Jason Allan, walked Spartan Brad Polcare. Polcare quickly got himself in scoring position by stealing second base. Teammate Kyle Brooks then moved Polcare over to third base by reaching first on an errant high throw from Becker’s third baseman. A Brooks steal put runners at second and third for Dan Conley, who hit a two-run single down the left field line.
“We knew the catcher wasn’t particularly good at throwing out runners so we would had to take advantage and steal a lot of bases throughout the game,” said Polcare.
That was all the Spartans needed for a victory because their starting pitcher, Rob Turner, gave a stellar performance, allowing just six hits and one run in seven innings, while walking one batter and fanning four.
In game two, the Spartans picked up where they left off in game one. Six of their seven runs resulted from either a walk, an error, or a pass ball/wild pitch.
“When teams allow us on base and to advance, we’ll take that,” said head coach Ted Shipley. “We don’t count on it, but we’ll take it.”
The Spartans’ starting pitcher in game two, Ken Cook, tossed all seven innings, giving up seven hits, allowing four runs, walking two, and striking out six. His only blip on the radar came in the fourth inning when Becker strung together three hits and had a runner reach first base via an error before Ryan Mercado crushed a two-run double out to center field.
Ted Mills was the Spartans’ standout hitter in the two games, going 5-8 with 3 runs batted in.
“I thought he looked very good at the plate. He is a very capable hitter. Good things happen to guys who work hard and Ted definitely works hard,” said Shipley
With the two wins on Sunday, the Spartans’ overall record stands at 7-11. Their current 3-1 NAC record puts them in third place in the conference behind Thomas and Elms, who both have 4-0 NAC records.
The Spartans will next play ball on Thursday, April 17, at 4:15, when they host Williams College. Their next NAC contest will be a double header at Thomas College at 2:00 on Saturday, April 19.