By: Matt McHugh
June 28, 2017
COTUIT — There were not a lot of positive takeaways from Wednesday’s 13-2 loss vs. Orleans, but left-handed pitcher Austin Kitchen (Coastal Carolina) had his best game of the year.
In his first performance of the season at Chatham, Kitchen did not record an out. He came in to a tie game in the 6th inning, and proceeded to give up a home run and back-to-back doubles before being pulled. Cotuit went on to lose the game 8-4.
In Wednesday’s game, Kitchen came in to the worst spot any pitcher could imagine. Starting pitcher Jayce Vancena (Michigan) had given up three runs and had the bases loaded with nobody out when coach Mike Roberts made the call to bring in Kitchen.
Kitchen struck out Ethan Paul (Vanderbilt) and induced a double play off the bat of no. 3 hitter Brandon Riley (North Carolina) to escape the jam with no further damage. Kitchen went the next two innings and finished with just three hits allowed, one unearned run, and four strikeouts.
“He’s a quality pitcher, he just needs to get out there more and build some confidence up on the Cape,” Roberts said. “Today was a good opportunity for him to do that, so that’s an excellent sign.”
At Coastal Carolina, Kitchen has spent the past two seasons as a dominant reliever. On the 2016 national championship team, Kitchen held opponents to a .185 batting average in 42.1 innings. In the 2017 season, he led the Chanticleers with six saves.
The Kettleers hit the road again tomorrow, with a trip to Hyannis (6-7) at 6 p.m. Orleans (9-6) has an off day tomorrow and will host Harwich on Friday.
- Both runs for the Kettleers came on one swing – a two-run home run by John Cresto (Santa Clara) in the the 9th inning. Cresto entered the game in the 8th inning, and this was his first day out of the starting lineup in the last 11 games. Cresto is second on the team with a .354 batting average, and is now tied for the team lead in home runs with two.
- Cresto’s home run improves his slugging percentage to .604, fifth-best in the Cape League. Cresto slugged .561 for Santa Clara this season.
- Greyson Jenista (Wichita State) was out of the lineup on Wednesday. He got hit by a pitch on the leg in Tuesday’s win at Harwich, and is considered day-to-day.
- Steve Passatempo (U Mass Lowell) picked up three hits for Orleans in Wednesday’s game. He was 2-27 on the season entering that game.
- The Kettleers mixed up their defense at the end of Wednesday’s game – John Cresto (Santa Clara) came in to play first base, and Zack Kone (Duke) moved from shortstop to centerfield. Neither player had seen any time at those new positions this season.
- Even after a 13-2 defeat, the Kettleers are the only team in the West division with a positive run differential (+3). Wareham has the second best run differential with -1.