By John S. Condakes
JULY 2, 2008
COTUIT — Cotuit starter Nick Hernandez of Tennessee entered the night with a 3-0 record and the Kettleers had beaten Bourne in their first two meetings of the season. Unfortunately neither of those factors could prevent the Braves from finally beating Cotuit as they handed the Kettleers a 5-2 loss at Lowell Park.
This contest featured a slightly different look for the Kettleers in the field as Coach Mike Roberts opted to use everyday catcher Robert Stock as a pitcher. With the loss of Dan Black, normal first baseman Kevin Patterson of Auburn got the start behind the plate. He had caught during the college season at Auburn and is currently the backup catcher on the Cotuit roster until the arrival of Joey Lewis from Georgia. With Patterson behind the plate, Roberts called upon usual left fielder Mike Bianucci (Auburn) to play first base. The batting order also featured a bit of a change since Stock began the night in the bullpen. Pitcher Sam Brown of NC State was pegged as the designated hitter for the evening by Roberts.
“It was interesting, I haven’t hit in about two years. I just went up there and ended up with two walks,” said Brown. Roberts informed Brown he would be hitting only fifteen minutes before the game so he immediately went to the batting cage to take some hacks. Brown ended the night 0 for 1 with a flyout to center to go along with his two walks.
Bourne’s Nate Reed (Pittsburgh) was fantastic as he held Cotuit to no runs through four innings of work. He allowed only two hits to go along with three walks and three strikeouts. His counterpart Hernandez was less impressive as he yielded four runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in five innings. To Hernandez’s credit, none of the four runs were earned due to more sloppy play by the Kettleers’ defense.
Reed was replaced by Kevin Landry in the fifth inning but it wasn’t until the seventh inning that the Kettleers finally cracked the scoreboard.
Alex Sogard of NC State came on in the sixth for Cotuit and gave up the fifth and final run as Bourne third baseman Austin Knight of Dallas Baptist doubled home catcher Brandon Bantz, also of Dallas Baptist. The duo from Dallas Baptist combined for four of Bourne’s five runs on the evening.
Landry showed signs of fatigue in the seventh as he surrendered an RBI double to Cotuit second baseman Dallas Poulk (NC State) and the a sacrifice fly by Clemson left fielder Jeff Schaus to make the score 5-2. Landry would earn the win in three innings of work allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
The Kettleers attempted to rally in the eighth and ninth but fell short as Eric Pettis of UC Irvine earned the save. The good news for Cotuit was that both of their hitting pitchers on the evening produced perfect innings on the mound. Stock came on for the eighth inning and was spectacular as he caught two Braves looking for called third strikes. He hasn’t missed a beat since the spring where he closed games at USC as his fastball topped out at 90 miles per hour. Brown was also excellent on the mound as he retired all three batters he faced; two via the groundout and one strikeout.
Cotuit’s local nine will be back in action Thursday evening at 5 p.m. as they travel to Brewster to face the Whitecaps. The teams have met twice already this season with each team capturing a victory so far.