CASTLETON, Vt. – The University of Maine at Farmington baseball team (17-19) faltered scoring chances in three straight innings in Friday morning's, 4-1, North Atlantic Conference first round loss to Castleton State College.
The Beavers had a chance in the top of the second inning after Tom Grady (Whitefield, Maine) led off the frame with a seeing-eye-single through the left side. The junior moved into scoring position with a stolen base and then to third on a fly out to right field. The rally ended with back-to-back strikeouts by Castleton hurler Devin Hayes (Vergennes, Vt.).
Jordan Croteau (South Paris, Maine) started the third inning off with liner up the middle for UMF. After a walk moved Croteau up 90 feet, Farmington for the second straight inning failed to manufacture a run.
Grady started the fourth inning with another single and after a walk presented the Beavers with ducks on the pond for the third straight inning, they once again could not get a run across the plate.
After a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fourth, Nick Swim (St. Albans, Vt.) crushed an RBI double to center field for the game's first run. Swim was caught stealing third which came back to hurt the Spartans as Dan Errico (West Hartford, Conn.) launched a solo home run over the left field fence.
Castleton threatened again in the bottom of the fifth after Soren Pelz-Walsh (Dummerstown, Vt.) doubled to left center. UMF starter Joe Sullivan, (Lewiston, Maine) however, responded by getting back-to-back batters out to end the jam with no damage allowed.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans doubled their lead with a pair of runs to go in front by four. Jim Buckley (Nashua, N.H.) began the frame with a triple off the wall in deep center before a wild pitch from Sullivan brought him home. Tyler Hoare (Waterbury, Vt.) then doubled to right and Pelz-Walsh followed with a single before Taylor Vile (Syracuse, N.Y.) ripped a two-run hit through the left side of the infield to make it 4-0.
Farmington did not go away quietly in their last at-bat. Grady ripped his third hit of the afternoon with a double just inside the chalk line down the third base line. Grayson Beressi (Falmouth, Maine) lined a single up the middle and then Jimmy Neal (Farmington, Maine) loaded the bases by getting hit by a pitch. Ben Keene (Livermore, Maine) hit a dribbler in the hole at short as the Spartans could not get an out, which allowed Grady to score easily from third.
The Spartans came through with a much-needed double play with a grounder to closer, T.J. Fearon (Colchester, Conn.), who turned the 1-2-3 double play. Trevor Hisler (Skowhegan, Maine) nearly tied the game with a liner down the right field line that just missed catching the line and landed in foul territory.
Sullivan tossed 6 1/3 innings for the Beavers with four strikeouts and scattered 11 hits. Hayes picked up the win for the Spartans with seven solid innings and fanned four Beavers.
UMaine-Farmington plays the non-winner of Thomas and Husson at 3:00 p.m. for Game Three of the North Atlantic Conference Tournament.