CASTLETON, Vt. - The Keene State College baseball team brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but could not score and wound up leaving nine people on base overall as the Owls dropped a 5-2 decision at Castleton University's Spartan Field in Little East action Tuesday afternoon.
- Keene State: 9-18, 3-8 LEC
- Castleton: 14-16, 6-6 LEC
How It Happened
Matt Jackson's first home run of the season in the fifth broke open a one-run game and gave the Spartans a 5-1 lead, which was enough for Cameron Goulet and two relievers to uphold, as Castleton completed a season sweep of Keene State in their first year in the league. Connor Longley led the KSC offense, going 2-for-4 with a home run while driving in both of his team's runs. Ryan Linehan also had a pair of hits in four at bats, and Tyler Gammie and Tom Meucci each doubled, but Keene State left nine people on base, including five in the first three innings.
After Goulet and Owl starter Brandon Heath exchanged scoreless frames over the first two innings, KSC got on the board in the top of the third when Meucci doubled to right center and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Mac Struthers before scoring on Longley's single down the right field line. Leading 1-0, the Owls had a chance for more after John Tarascio followed with a base hit of his own, but a popout to second ended the threat, and the Spartans immediately retaliated in their half of the same inning. Pat Mumford and Deagan Poland led off the third with singles and KSC elected to intentionally walk Davis Mikell to load the bases with nobody out. Heath got out of it allowing just a pair of sacrifice flies, but they nonetheless put Castleton ahead 2-1, a lead they would never relinquish.
Gammie's two-bagger led off the Owls' half of the fourth, but could not score, and KSC also got a one-out baserunner in the fifth after Connor Walsh walked, but he was erased on a 6-3 double play. One of the biggest swings all day came in the bottom half of that inning, as Jackson gave the Spartans breathing room and a 5-1 lead with a three-run home run that also scored Dylan Bailey and Mikell. The long ball came with two down in the inning as reliever Ryan Sliwinski attempted to get out of the two on, one out jam. Keene State did not get another hit until the eighth inning when Longley went yard to trim the deficit to 5-2. The Owls did have one final push in the top of the ninth against Spartans' closer Mikell when Linehan singled to second base and moved up on an error with one out, and David Sevigny followed with a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but a grounder to third and a routine fly to right snuffed out any KSC comeback attempt.
Around the Horn
- Longley's homer is his second of the season and eighth of his career. He last went deep on March 20 in the Owls' 9-7 win at Clark University.
- The loss drops Keene State two games out of the sixth and final playoff spot occupied by UMass Dartmouth (5-6) with five conference games remaining, including two against the Corsairs this Saturday.
- KSC is 9-5 all-time against Castleton.
- Keene State will visit No. 7 Babson College on Thursday, April 25 for a 3:30 pm start.
- Castleton, who had lost five of seven, visits Colby-Sawyer College tomorrow, April 24, at 3:30 pm.