CASTLETON, Vermont — The Castleton University Spartans used a five-run fifth inning to rally from a three-run deficit and beat the Husson University Eagles 6-5 to claim their third straight North Atlantic Conference baseball title Sunday at Spartan Field.
The Spartans (32-10) clinched a berth in the NCAA Division III tourney with the win while Husson of Bangor finished at 23-21.
Castleton advanced to the championship round after beating Husson 7-5 in 12 innings during a winners bracket game in the double-elimination tourney Saturday. Husson then eliminated Thomas College of Waterville 6-1 to advance to the championship round.
On Sunday, Jim Buckley hit a solo homer to right center to start out Castleton’s big inning. An RBI single by Dillon Benham, a bases-loaded walk, a fielder’s choice RBI and a throwing error accounted for the other runs.
The Eagles scored three runs in the second on Christian Corneil’s RBI single to right, Alex Chapman’s bunt single and a Ryan Rebar sacrifice fly. Sam Huston hit an RBI double to right center in the next inning, and Husson capitalized on an error to score a run in the eighth.
Julien Boone finished with three hits for Husson, and Zach Sugar and Corneil each added two.
In Saturday’s first game, Dan Errico’s leadoff home run in the 12th inning provided the impetus for a two-run rally that lifted the top-seeded Spartans by the No. 2 Eagles.
Michael LaBeau (4-0) pitched four innings for one-hit shutout ball with four strikeouts and a walk to help Castleton prevail. Deagan Poland collected five singles with two RBIs and two runs scored to propel the winners.
Mike Wong paced Husson with a double and two singles (RBI). Corneil (double) and Rebar added two hits and an RBI each.
Reliever Ben Holmes (1-2) allowed three hits and two runs in four innings to suffer the loss. Ben Walls worked the first 7⅔ innings, giving up nine hits and five runs (four earned).
The Eagles built a 5-2 lead through six innings, but Bahan’s two-out, two-run double in the seventh and Poland’s two-out, run-scoring single in the eighth forced extra innings.
J.T. Whitten sparked Husson in Saturday’s second game with a grand slam to back winning pitcher Dan Whitney, who scattered nine hits while not walking a batter and striking out two.
Nik Beeson recorded three singles and an RBI to lead Thomas (20-20).
Castleton’s Labeau, Poland, Sam Spencer and Errico were named to the all-tourney team along with Husson’s Huston, Whitten and Whitney. Beeson and Dominic Esposito of Thomas also were selected as well as Ben Keene and Trevor Hisler of the University of Maine at Farmington.