Bangor- Ever since beginning conference play, the Husson Eagles baseball team have used great starting pitching and timely hitting to start the NAC season at 12-0. On John Winkin Day at the Winkin Complex Saturday afternoon, it was the Spartans of Castleton State using that same recipe to sweep a doubleheader from the Eagles 6-1 and 4-3.
In Game 1 the Spartans came out swinging against Husson starter Dan Whitney. Castleton loaded the bases with two singles and a walk to the first three hitters. Zach Bahan then lifted a sacrifice fly RBI to plate a run followed by a soft line drive RBI single to right by Jim Buckley for a quick 2-0 advantage. Buckley added his second RBI of the contest to make it 3-0 Castleton in the top of inning number 3. Husson did have 7 hits in the game but were held in check by Castleton starter Steven Jurkiewicz. JT Whitten had two hits in the game including an RBI on an infield single in Hussons half of the 3rd to make it 3-1. The Spartans would pad the lead though with an RBI single by Tyler Lord in the 4th and a pair of RBI singles from Taylor Vile and Nick Swim in the 5th to put the game out of reach at 6-1. Jurkiewicz goes to 3-0 with the win on the hill for the Spartans going all 7 innings allowing 1 earned run, 7 hits, 1 walk and 6 strikeouts. Whitney takes the loss for Husson falling to 3-1 going 4.1 innings and allowing 6 runs, 4 earned, 10 hits, 2 walks and striking out 4.
In Game 2 it was more of the same as Castleton starter Sam Spencer would quiet the Husson bats for the first 6 innings and take advantage of some control problems from Husson starting pitcher Connor Graffam. With the bases loaded in the 2nd Graffam would walk in 2 runs and then catcher Jordan Carter was charged with a passed ball allowing a runner from third to score to make it 3-0 Spartans. Ben Holmes would relieve Graffam and walk two more hitters but Husson got out of the jam and limited the damage to 3. Spencer was dealing keeping Husson off balance and only allowing 3 hits over the first 6 innings. Buckley picked up his third RBI of the day in the 3rd inning with an RBI groundout to make it 4-0. Brandon Grabkowski kept Husson in the game by throwing 5 scoreless innings and allowing no hits while striking out 4. Husson would rally in their last at bat in the bottom of the 7th. Whitten started it with an infield single followed by a Christian Corneil single and then Adam Wilson would be hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Carter then hit a chopper and would reach on a fielders choice as Whitten was thrown out at home. A wild pitch allowed Corneil to come in to score with Seth Freudenberger batting to bring Husson within 4-1. With runners on first and second Freudenberger reached when first baseman Buckley made an error on a throw by catcher Nate Swahn deflecting off his glove and into right field allowing pinch runner Cam Archer and Carter to come around and score and allowing Freudenberger to reach second to make it 4-3. Ryan Rebar then grounded out to shortstop and Andrew Curran was Hussons lastchance to tie the game with 2 outs. Curran hit a harmless grounder to third base to end it and the Spartans escaped with the one run victory and the doubleheader sweep. Spencer improves to 2-2 for Castleton going 7 innings, allowing 3 runs, all earned, 5 hits, 1 walk and 3 strikeouts. Graffam picks up the loss and goes to 0-1 allowing 3 runs, all earned, 1 hit, and 3 walks.
Husson honored legendary coach Dr. John Winkin before first pitch of Game 1. They retired his number 5 on the left field fence and noone will ever wear that number again in varsity club baseball at Husson University. Jack Winkin, Johns son, threw out the first pitch.
Husson falls to 16-10 overall and 12-2 in the North Atlantic Conference while Castleton improves to 11-7 overall and 4-3 in the NAC. The two teams battle in another conference doubleheader on Sunday with first pitched scheduled for 12 noon.