by Steve McCarthy
June 15, 2010
FALMOUTH – A seventh-inning throwing error by Cotuit Kettleers first baseman Kevin Patterson (Auburn) botched a trick play and allowed Falmouth Commodores baserunner Kevin Madrano (Missouri St.) to cross with the game’s only run Tuesday night in a well-pitched affair at Guv Fuller Field in Falmouth.
The Kettleers tried to cut down Madrano on his way to third after faking an intentional walk. Chris O’Brien (Wichita St.) managed to put Cotuit reliever John Healy’s (St. Anselm) pitch into play and Patterson’s throw across the diamond sailed wide of third baseman Levi Hyams (Georgia).
“We were just hoping we could get somebody in scoring position and Kevin Madrano had the big hit,” Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy said. “I give Chris O’Brien a lot of credit too, to be on his toes and be alert in that situation.”
Cotuit fell to 0-2 while Falmouth remains unbeaten after their home opener at 2-0.
Falmouth starting pitcher Mark Pope (1-0, Georgia Tech) struck out 11 batters in seven innings in the first start of his second season with the Commodores. His no-hitter bid was broken up in the sixth inning by Cotuit’s Joey Hainsfurther (Baylor), who had the only hit off Pope. Four of Pope’s strikeouts came in the fourth inning as Cotuit’s C.J. Cron reached when strike three was a passed ball.
“My splitter was working really well,” Pope said. “That’s something that’s been a little iffy for me all year.”
Pope said he typically relies on his two-seam fastball to induce more ground ball outs than strikeouts but was able to keep hitters guessing with breaking pitches Tuesday.
“I really didn’t even notice it was a one-hitter until I came out and everybody told me (Falmouth teammate) Cecil (Tanner) had asked about it being a no-hitter,” Pope said. “As soon as that happened, there was a hit into right field. I blame that on him.”
Steven Gruver (Tennessee) fanned five batters in the final two innings to pick up the save (1). Gruver and Pope combined on a two-hitter.
“Historically, certainly when I look over past seasons, the first couple of weeks favor the pitchers, without question,” Trundy said.
Matt Murray (Georgia Southern) gave Cotuit a quality start in his Cape League debut, allowing just two hits in six innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
“I was just trying to throw strikes,” Murray said. “I haven’t been on the mound in a while.”
Southpaw Healy (0-1) took the loss after pitching just one-third of the seventh inning as Cotuit manager Mike Roberts went to his bullpen for right-hander A.J. Achter (Michigan St.) to face clean-up hitter O’Brien. Falmouth’s run was not charged to Healy. Achter finished the game for the Kettleers, striking out three in an inning and two-thirds.
The Commodores left a runner stranded on third in the first inning but Murray settled in to retire 16 batters in a row. Madrano had three of Falmouth’s five hits in the game. K.C. Serna (Oregon) and Matt Summers (Cal. Irvine) accounted for the other two.
Hainsfurther and Cron each singled for Cotuit, which has managed just six hits in its first two games combined.
The Kettleers’ baserunning improved from a stealing shutout in the season opener to swiping three bags Tuesday.
Cotuit will host Hyannis Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. in the home opener at Lowell Park.