Story by Steve McCarthy
Thursday, June 18, 2009
ORLEANS – When the rain came, it poured. It was that kind of night Thursday for the Cotuit Kettleers, who finished their game in Orleans just in time to beat the worst of the weather, but committed a season high five errors in a 6-1 loss.
The Firebirds’ fielding was equally sloppy, but a strong outing by starting pitcher Rob Rasmussen (UCLA) kept the Kettleers dangerous base runners off the base paths and behind on the scoreboard the entire way.
“It’s pretty obvious that there’s a pattern now that we’ve had three first inning situations, Wareham, Bourne, and here tonight, where we’ve made it very tough on ourselves defensively in the first inning and take yourself maybe out of the ballgame, or do take yourself out of the ballgame,” Cotuit Manager Mike Roberts said.
Rasmussen (1-0) struck out ten batters in six innings pitched, and the lone Cotuit run that crossed in the third inning was unearned.
Jeff Rowland (Georgia Tech) had the only extra base hit for the Kettleers when he doubled in the fourth inning. Cotuit had just three hits in the game. Kevin Patterson (Auburn) and Rico Noel (Coastal Carolina) had the other two.
“(Rasmussen) had really good stuff,” Rowland said. “He threw the ball well on both sides of the plate, and his defense played well behind him.”
Drew Hillman (Orange Coast JC) scored on Noel’s single after reaching on an error and advancing to third on a passed ball.
Max Russell (0-1) took the loss for Cotuit, after all six Orleans runs crossed in the three innings he pitched. Four of them were earned by Russell. He allowed five hits, struck out two and walked one. He also hit two batters.
Number five hitter Jaren Matthews (Rutgers) reached safely in all four of his plate appearances, and had two of Orleans’ eight hits. Alex Hassan (Duke) had a triple in the third inning and scored the Firebirds’ final run two batters later.
Orleans relievers Tommy Kahnle (Lynn), Mike Ness (Duke), and Xavier Esquivel (Loyola Marymount) followed Rasmussen with an inning each. Ness allowed the lone Cotuit hit managed in the last three innings. After Noel reached on an error to lead off the ninth inning and advanced to third on two stolen bases, Esquivel struck out the next three batters.
Matt Grace (UCLA) pitched four and two thirds innings of scoreless relief for Cotuit, allowing two hits and striking out four in his second appearance out of the bullpen. Daniel Tillman got Orleans’ Kevin Muno to ground back to him for the final out in the eighth.
The Kettleers will try to regain their winning form back at Lowell Park Friday when they host Brewster at 5 p.m.