Produced by Cierra Jordan
June 25, 2017
ORLEANS – Cotuit rode a 21-run, two-game win streak into Orleans this Sunday afternoon for a doubleheader. Coming off wins against Brewster and Y-D by a combined score of 21-8, the Kettleers were scorching. The offense clipped a .369 average in the two wins, and rode its powerful top of the order.
Entering Sunday’s doubleheader, Cotuit was the best offensive team in the league while Orleans was the best pitching team, with Cotuit leading in runs per game and Orleans leading in runs allowed per game.
In game one, Cotuit’s defense, which also topped the league in fielding percentage, cost the team a win, leading to two Firebirds’ runs and extending a 6-run inning that was the only inning Orleans scored in. Cotuit fell 6-4.
With Seth Shuman (Georgia Southern) on the mound and the offense hungry after it struggled early on, Cotuit looked to rebound in game two, but ultimately failed. The Kettleers (6-6) fell victim to their first shutout of the season, falling 4-0 to Orleans (7-6).
“Their pitching threw strikes,” Cotuit manager Mike Roberts said. “And when you don’t walk people it makes a big difference. Their pitching was consistent.”
Cotuit opened the game impressively. Griffin Conine (Duke) and Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) began action with back-to-back line drive singles to put runners on first and second. But a strikeout and double play ended opportunities in the first, failing to score two runners.
After Conine and Jenista’s singles, Cotuit only put four more men on base the entire contest, with two hits in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Daniel Lynch (Virginia) and Brooks Wilson (Stetson) combined to throw seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and they did not walk a single batter. Lynch took home the win and dropped his earned run average to 2.79.
Only Michael Toglia (UCLA) generated any real offense against the duo. Toglia, who opened the season just 1-14 through his first four games, finished 2-3 against Lynch and Wilson. He was the only Cotuit batter with more than one hit in the second contest.
A big inning cost the Kettleers in game one, and had Cotuit scored any runs, it might have cost them again in game two. Shuman gave up four hits and walked two batters in the first inning, surrendering three runs through the first frame. And the second inning only got worse. After getting an early 6-3 ground out, Shuman yielded two more hits and a walk to load the bases before he was finally pulled.
Returning starter Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) came in for damage control, striking out two batters to end the inning with the bases juiced, but the harm was already done. Those three runs in the first proved to be three more than Cotuit could earn, and the Kettleers fell back down to .500 on the season.
“We just couldn’t bunch our hits together,” said Zack Kone (Duke), who finished 0-3 in game two. “Not a lot of highlights.”
The Kettleers have the day off on Monday before returning to action on the road against Harwich (5-7) on Tuesday. Cotuit lost to Harwich 6-3 at home on June 21.
- Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Orleans is the first time Cotuit has been shut out this season. And the shutout also cost them the top spot on the Cape leader board in runs scored. Chatham now leads that category with 61 runs compared to 60 for Cotuit.
- Griffin Conine’s combined 1-7 day pulls him out of first place in the batting title, dropping his average to .426. He now sits .06 points below his college teammate and Orleans leadoff hitter, Jimmy Herron (Duke). Conine still remains in first in hits (20). That spot is currently a three-way tie between Conine, Falmouth third baseman Alec Bohm (Wichita State) and Hyannis outfielder Reece Hampton (Charlotte).
- Bourne, Cotuit and Falmouth all currently sit with 12 points in the Western Division. Cotuit is the only team in the Western Division with a positive run differential.