Produced by Cierra Jordan
By: Matt McHugh
July 26, 2017
COTUIT — After a 9-0 drubbing on Tuesday, the Cotuit Kettleers (18-17-1) rode their excellent pitching to a 4-0 win over the Wareham Gatemen (16-19-1) on Wednesday at Lowell Park.
Jason Bilous (Coastal Carolina) made his 7th start of the season, and battled through three innings, throwing 68 pitches and working around six walks. However, he kept the Gatemen bats quiet, allowing just one hits and keeping them off the scoreboard.
“I thought Bilous finessed it really well,” coach Mike Roberts said. “He didn’t have great stuff, but I think he’s learning how to use his secondary stuff when they’re looking fastball. I thought he did a really good job doing that tonight.”
The Kettleers got on the board early with a solo home run from designated hitter Thomas Dillard (Ole Miss) in the 2nd inning, his 2nd of the season. In the third, back-to-back bunt singles from Terrin Vavra (Minnesota) and Miles Lewis (Michigan), followed by an RBI single from Michael Toglia (UCLA) gave the Kettleers a 4-0 lead.
“I felt really good,” Dillard said. “I was glad to get one out for my team. We didn’t have a great game yesterday, so it was good to bounce back today with a strong game against Wareham.”
The Kettleers had scored just two runs on eight hits over their previous two games, falling 5-2 and 9-0 to Chatham and Brewster, respectively.
“We came in for two hours this afternoon to work on extra areas,” Roberts said. “We used the pitching machine on sliders today for the first time. I’m pleased that we can play small ball when we need to, and they’ve done a great job of that lately. We swung the bats better, but the small ball got us over the hump.”
In the 4th inning, Clark Cota (UNC Wilmington), who is tied for the team lead with three saves, entered in relief of Bilous.
“My preparation is always the same,” Cota said. “Any time I’m coming out of the bullpen, I still have that closer mentality coming into the game. I felt a little rushed coming into the game, but I was able to adjust on the mound.”
In the 5th, Cota was in a two out jam after a hit, error and walk loaded the bases. John Toppa (Connecticut) hit a chopper to Michael Toglia at first base, and Cota barely beat Toppa to the bag to end the inning unscathed.
“[Toppa] hit it, and I stopped and watched for a second, then I was like: ‘Oh I should get over there,’” Cota said. “I sprinted over – I don’t think I’ve ever ran that fast in my life. I think I beat him by two tenths of a step, so I got lucky. It went my way on that call, and I’m happy about that for sure.”
Roberts added: “I think he likes being in that situation. His control was a little off, but I give him credit. He got to first when he needed to get there, and a great play by Michael [Toglia] too. He pitched his way out of it, which is what you want to do. Hopefully he’s not going to get hit real hard most of the time, and if he throws in the zone as hard as he does he’s going to get people out.”
In relief of Cota, Zane Collins (Wright State) and Michael Byrne (Florida) threw three scoreless innings, and allowed just three baserunners. Collins leads all qualified Kettleers with a 2.00 ERA, and Byrne has not allowed a run in 8.1 innings this summer.
The Kettleers will hit the road tomorrow and face the Hyannis Harbor Hawks, while the Gatemen will return home to host the Brewster Whitecaps.