May 19, 2006
BROOKLINE, Mass. - Castleton State (23-19) set the tone early with a three spot in the top of the first as the Spartans knocked off MIT (21-14), 7-4, in the quarterfinal round of the 2006 ECAC Division III New England Baseball Championship at Northeastern's Friedman Diamond. With the win, No. 6 Castleton State advances to Saturday's semifinals against No. 2 Brandeis University, while the three-seed Engineers bring the spring campaign to a close after producing back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history.
The Spartans pushed in front early with three singles, scoring on a ground out and a throwing error to jump ahead, 3-0. Freshman pitcher Jeremy Gilcris was brilliant for Castleton State, and after a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first frame, the rookie pitcher continued a fantastic start, while the Spartan defense looked sharp for most of the afternoon.
The Engineers sprinkled one run over four different innings, but were unable to sustain any momentum. Another three-run inning by Castleton State in the fifth cemented the opening round victory as five hits during the stanza paved the way. Sophomore Anthony DiPietrantonio took advantage of a missed diving attempt on a fly ball to center, opening the frame with a triple. Tim Zorio doubled during the inning, while Chris Ragis keyed the attack with a two-run single.
Gilcris (3-3) worked all nine innings en route to his fourth complete game of the season. The Spartans' rookie southpaw yielded just three earned runs and gave up nine hits in the winning effort. MIT rookie Luke Johnson (1-1) was tagged with the first loss of his collegiate career after two solid starts, while Rich Kosoglow surrendered just one run in 4.1 innings of relief.
Ragis paced the Castleton State bats by going 3-for-4. Phil Puleo also collected two RBI after going 2-for-5. Puleo was especially sharp with the glove during Friday's tilt, picking up nine assists from the hot corner. Kyle Zeller went 2-for-4 in his final game donning the Cardinal and Gray, while Jason Witzberger also added two hits in the season-ending loss.