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Hornets fall twice to Spartans in battle for conference lead

Hornets fall twice to Spartans in battle for conference lead

Castleton, VT - Lyndon State College and Castleton University entered Friday's doubleheader tied atop the North Atlantic Conference baseball standings.  Unfortunatley for the Hornets, it was the Spartans that came away with the sweep, winning by scores of 4-2 and 5-2, to take over sole posession of first place.  Castleton improves to 18-9 overall and 12-2 in the NAC, while Lyndon falls to 9-13 on the season and 5-3 in conference.

Game 1 - Castleton 4, Lyndon 2

The opener unfolded as a pitcher's duel between Lyndon's James Mundy (Brentwood, NH) and Castleton's Cameron Goulet (Winsted, CT).  Both pitchers kept their opponents off the scoreboard through the first four innings.  Goulet stranded two Hornets in both the first and second innings, while Mundy recorded three strikeouts in the bottom of the second to leave two Spartans on base.

In the top of the fifth inning the Hornets took advantage of several Castleton defensive miscues to break the scoreless tie.  With one out, Ryan Cordiero (Rollinsford, NH) and Zak Johnson (East Hampton, CT) drew back to back walks.  Andre Eason Jr. (Waterbury, CT) then reached on an error to load the bases.  Codi Smith (Hartford, VT) reached on another error, allowing Cordiero and Johnson to score a pair of unearned runs.  The Hornets were unable to capitalize further, however, as Goulet picked Smith off and Eason was caught off base on the same play to end the inning.

Mundy kept the Spartans off the board again in the bottom of the fifth inning, and Goulet did the same to the Hornets in the top of the sixth.

Castleton finally broke through against Mundy in the bottom of the sixth.  Matt Braman (North Adams, MA) and Davis Mikell (Williston, VT) drew back to back walks to start the inning.  Jonathan Lindau (Middletown, NY) then lined a double to right, scoring Braman.  Mitch Caron's (Augusta, ME) sacrifice fly to center scored Mikell to tie the game at 2-2.  Dillon Benham (Lenox, MA) followed with a single that drove in Lindau and gave Castleton the lead.  The Spartans would make it 4-2 later in the inning when Andrew Graciano (St. Johnsbury, VT) singled home Dylan Bailey (Duxbury, VT), and chased Mundy in the process.  Andrew Whalen (Cumberland, RI) relieved Mundy and got Pat Mumford (Fairbanks, AK) to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Aaron Smith (Middlebury, VT) relieved Goulet in the top of the seventh inning and set the Hornets down in order to close the game and earn the save.  Goulet picked up the win, going six innings and not allowing an earned run while striking out five and yielding only three hits.  Mundy took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out seven over 5.2 innings.

Game 2 - Castleton 5, Lyndon 2

The Spartans struck first in the nightcap.  Braman led off the bottom of the first with a single back up the middle against Lyndon starter Jake Jourdain (Becket, MA).  Two batters later, Lindau drove a triple to right center to score Braman.  Caron's sacrifice fly brought Lindau home to make it 2-0, Castleton.

Lyndon got one run back in the top of the second inning.  Smith and Jason Doris (Lincoln, RI) started things with back to back singles.  Ryder Thorton (Essex, VT) bunted the runners over, then Smith scored on Ben Rollins' (Lincolnville, ME) ground out.

Castleton picked up an unearned run in the bottom of the third inning to increase their lead back to two runs.  Mikell reached on an error, then two batters later scored on Caron's single to right, making it 3-1 Spartans.

Mumford drew a one out walk in the Castleton fourth.  He proceeded to steal second and third, then after Braman walked, Mumford scored on a double steal.  Braman eventually came around to score on Mikell's single, making it 5-1 Castleton after four complete.

Lyndon got something going against Castleton starter Andy Kenosh (Rutland, VT) in the top of the fifth.  Sam Ogenoff (Brattleboro, VT) and Zach Hale (St. Johnsbury, VT) started the inning with back to back singles.  Cordiero bunted the runners over, then Ogenoff scored when Johnson hit into a fielder's choice.  Eason followed with a single, but Kenosh got Smith to hit back to the box to end the Hornet threat.

Jourdain allowed a one out double to Benham in the bottom of the fifth but stranded him at third, keeping the score 5-2 heading into the sixth inning.  Kenosh was aided by a double play ball to keep the Hornets off the board in the top half of the sixth, then Matt Page (Groton, VT) relieved Jourdain and held the Spartans scoreless in the bottom half of the inning.

Aaron Smith relieved Kenosh in the seventh and gave up a one out single to Eason.  Johnson followed by grounding into a game ending double play, however, earning Smith his second save of the day.

Kenosh picked up the win, scattering nine hits over six innings.  Jourdain suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs and six hits, striking out seven over five innings.

The Hornets travel to New England College for a pair of games on Saturday.  First pitch is set for 1:00 pm.  Castleton hosts Husson this weekend.