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Beavers no-hit, take down by Castleton

CASTLETON, Vt. -- Dakota Aker (Schenectady, N.Y.) tossed a no-hitter in the Spartans' 4-0 win over University of Maine at Farmington in the opening game of a North Eastern Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader and Castleton got timely hitting in the second game on their way to a 7-2 victory and four-game sweep of the Beavers this weekend.

The Beavers (3-13 overall, 2-6 NEAC East) are scheduled to host Husson University Tuesday in divisional play at 1 p.m. at Hippach Field. With the sweep, the Spartans improve to 15-8 overall and a perfect 10-0 in the North Eastern Athletic Conference. They also extend their win streak to ten games, the longest since the team won 12 in a row during the 2010 season.

Aker was twirled a no-hitter as the Spartans won 4-0. The righty struck out eight and faced the minimum of 21 batters over seven innings. Only two runners reached base, one on a walk and the other dropped strike, however neither reached second safely as the first was out on a double play and the second was caught trying to steal second.

The performance marked the third straight complete game shutout for Spartan pitching this weekend. It is also the first Castleton no-hitter since Chris Adams went the distance in 2002 against New England College in a 20-0 win

In the first inning, Castleton's first two batters went down in order before Ryan Zielinski (Schenectady, N.Y.) rapped a single up the middle. Joe Borowski (Schenectady, N.Y.) followed with a line drive to the wall in right-center for a stand-up triple, scoring Zielinski from first for the early 1-0 lead.

The Spartans added another two-out run in the bottom of the second as Mat Pause (Hartford, Vt.) drove a triple down the right field line, scoring Tyler Hoare (Duxbury, Vt.) from first base.

In the top of the third, Aker send down the first two batters in order, before a dropped third strike allowed Ian McAlister (So. Berwick, Maine.) to reach first, for Farmington's second base runner of the day. Two pitches later Pause gunned down McAlister trying to steal second for the final out of the inning.

Castleton used some small ball in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 3-0. Adam Greenlese (Shokan, N.Y.) led off with an infield single toward third base and advanced to second on a passed ball. Pause bunted Greenlese over to third and David Brandt (Contoocook, N.H.) followed with a sacrifice fly deep enough to right to score the runner from third easily.

The Spartans got another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Borowski and Peter Wagner (Brattleboro, Vt.) both singled to lead off the inning. Matt McNamee (Pawling, N.Y.) followed with a groundout to third, but Borowski was able to score from third on the play.

Brandon Gallagher (No. Yarmouth, Maine) took the loss in the contest, despite pitching five innings while giving up just a pair of earned runs. He also walked two batters and struck out one.

The Spartans kept their offense going in the nightcap, posting two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Cameron Curler (Vergennes, Vt.) started the rally off with a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single to left field by Zielinski. After a flyout, Wagner belted a single to center. The fielder misplayed it and both runners scored on the play for the 2-0 lead.
An inning later Castleton put up three more runs on the scoreboard to extend its lead to 5-0. Each of the first three batters reached to load the bases for Brandt, who scored a run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Curler scored another with a groundout to third and Zielinski finished the inning with an RBI double down the left field line.

The Beavers earned their first run of the weekend in the top of the third, to cut the lead to 5-1 in favor of the Spartans. Dale Winchenbach (Waldoboro, Maine) earned a one-out walk and Colin Mello (Windham, Maine) followed with a single. The two advanced on a balk and Winchenbach scored on a groundout to third.

Farmington added another run in the top of the fifth as McAlister reached on a fielder's choice and eventually scored on a passed ball to make it a 5-2 game.

Castleton got a run back in the bottom of the fifth to push the lead to four. McNamee led off the inning with a walk and pinch runner DJ Detweiler (Starksboro, Vt.) stole second and third before scoring on a single through the left side by pinch hitter Macyn Clifford (Brookline, N.H.).

The Spartans added one more insurance run in the last of the sixth, as Brian Martin (Woodstock, Vt.) and Zielinski doubled and singled to lead off the inning. Martin was picked off at third, but Zielinski stole second and eventually scored on a fielding error.

Tim Smith (Farmington, Maine) earned the victory while allowing just four hits and one earned run in five innings of work. The lefty also walked four and struck out three.

Shane Waters (Mechanic Falls, Maine) took the loss for the Beavers, giving up four earned runs in five innings while striking out two and walking four.

Mello and Brett Wallingford (Sanford, Maine) each collected two hits for UMF.

Zielinski finished 4-for-6 on the day with three runs and an RBI while Wagner went 3-for-7 with an RBI.