The New England College baseball team came into Tuesday with a program record 12 game winning streak. With a 21-5 victory over Castleton they would extend that streak to 13 games, however only hours later the Pilgrims would drop the second game of the day and suffer their first loss in North Atlantic Conference play by a score of 6-0. After splitting the two games their record is now 14-4 (3-1 NAC) to remain in first place in the conference, while Castleton moved to 7-8 (1-1NAC).
Castleton began the first game of the day the same way that Thomas College had on Saturday, they scored first and took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However, yet again the Pilgrims responded in a big way, Nick Powers who started on the mound would not allow another run until the fifth inning as he earned his fourth win of the year. Despite only recording two strikeouts, Powers did a nice job of pitching to contact and allowing his team to record outs for him, especially with what would become a large lead.
The Pilgrims showcased an incredibly balanced offense in the first game, they were extraordinarily patient at the plate and recorded 13 walks to go along with five batters who were hit by a pitch. With the Pilgrims leading 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning, they used a couple of free passes to put runners on base for Jeam Castillo, who drove in the first run of the inning with a RBI single. It was quickly followed by a RBI single from Christian Aybar. Later in the inning Stanley Vargas would drive in two runs with a single to left field, and the very next batter would be Xavier Nunez who hit a three run homerun to give the Pilgrims a commanding 10-1 lead. However, they were not done, adding two more runners on base for Manny Alejandro who would crush a three run homerun to left field and cap off an 11 run inning to give NEC a 13-1 lead.
With the score sitting at 18-5 in favor of NEC in the bottom of the sixth inning, Christian Aybar would cap off his 5 RBI day with a three run homerun. This homerun would give him the team lead with four. In total, six Pilgrims would drive in runs with Vargas, Nunez, Alejandro and Aybar driving in at least three each. The game would also feature two scoreless innings of relief pitched by Brendan Halloran and Christopher States.
The second of the two games looked very different from the first, as the Pilgrims who capitalized on opportunities in the first game, were held scoreless for the first time all season in the second. Starting pitcher Shane Audet gave the Pilgrims a chance to win, only allowing one hit over six innings of work, to go along with nine strikeouts. However, he would surrender two runs in the top of the fourth inning that gave Castleton a 2-0 lead, that they would not relinquish.
The Pilgrims would leave multiple runners on base to end innings on three separate occasions including the bases loaded to end the game. Castleton pitcher Garrett Moran was outstanding for the Spartans as he pitched a complete game, striking out seven batters and managed to work effectively around the eight hits he gave up.
The Pilgrims will look to bounce back from this loss and improve on their record when they take on Colby Sawyer on Thursday afternoon.
Source for all stats is NEC Athletic Website