By Jon Mettus
July 9, 2016
COTUIT — The Kettleers fell to the Brewster Whitecaps, 5-0, at Lowell Park on Saturday. The two teams mustered just five hits each and Brewster scored in each of the first four innings to total its five runs.
Jason Bilous debuts
Fresh off a College World Series win, Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) arrived in Cotuit and made his first start in the Cape League on Saturday. Bilous lasted 1 2/3 innings and gave up only one hit, but he walked three batters, hit two and let in two runs in the process.
Bilous was hitting 96 MPH with his fastball and after he struck out Brent Rooker (Mississippi State) swinging, Rooker went back to the dugout and said, “that breaking ball is nasty.”
But Bilous struggled with his command. He threw two wild pitches during the second at-bat of the game and eventually walked the batter. Bilous hit the first batter of the second inning, walked two more and beaned Bryce Jordan (Louisiana State) in the elbow with the bases loaded to surrender a run.
“Didn’t have as much feel as I wanted,” Bilous said. “Felt good with the changeup. Little shaky on the fastball, slider, but it’s the first outing. I’m sure I’ll do good the next couple.
Head coach Mike Roberts came out to the mound to remove Bilous after that.
“Great arm,” Roberts said. “We need to teach him direction.
Roberts hasn’t decided whether he’ll be a starter or come out of the bullpen. Bilous would prefer to be a starter, he said, because he’s more comfortable with that, but added that he’ll “do anything he wants me to do.”
Rio Gomez surrenders another home run
When Matt Davis (VCU) took Rio Gomez (Arizona) yard in the third inning, he continued a trend that has plagued Gomez throughout his first three appearances.
On July 4 at Falmouth, Gomez entered the game in the fourth and got out of a two-men-on, one-out jam. But in the next inning, his teammate at Arizona, J.J. Matijevic hit a two-run blast off him — the only two runs in the game
Two days later, he retired the first nine batters he faced — seven of which were strikeouts — but then gave up his only hit of the game: a solo home run. Gomez was pulled immediately.
On Saturday, Gomez entered with a bases loaded jam that he got out of, but then Davis went yard in the next inning.
“It’s just up,” Roberts said of the pitches. “… He’s a finesse left hander and that’s going to happen to him. He’s going to give up some runs.”
Cotuit ‘tentative’ at the plate
After the game, Roberts said he doesn’t know if he’s ever had a team take as many first pitch strikes as this year’s Cotuit squad. It happened eight times on Saturday.
In the bottom of the third, Ryan Hagan (Mercer), A.J. Balta (Oregon) and Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) all watched the first two pitches of their at-bats land for called strikes. Both Cal Stevenson (Arizona) and Clay Fisher (UCSB) took first-pitch strikes before striking out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“We give them really good Marucci bats, but for whatever reason they’ve been really tentative to swing them early in the count,” Roberts said. “Major league average is around .300, maybe a little bit more, on first pitch and two strikes it’s .179, .180, .181. We’re probably .050 with two strikes.”