By Zach Kaplan
Penn State University
July 28, 2018
ORLEANS– With Jason Reynolds (Lehigh) dominant in his first three innings of work, it seemed like he, along with the rest of the Kettleers, would ride off into Friday’s sunset with a win at Eldredge Park.
They carried a 6-1 lead heading into the ninth, and hadn’t allowed a baserunner since the second inning. But as any Firebirds or Kettleers fan will tell you, nothing is ever as easy as it seems when Orleans and Cotuit go head-to-head.
After JJ Bleday (Vanderbilt) knocked a two-run homer to cut Cotuit’s lead to three, Phil Clarke (Vanderbilt) delivered an RBI fielder’s choice, and Carter Aldrete (Arizona State) launched an RBI double, Orleans had runners on second and third with only one out, trailing by a run.
But a grounder to first base off the bat of Matt Fraizer (Arizona), and a base-running blunder by Aldrete allowed Michael Toglia (UCLA) to throw over to second, for the game-ending 3-6 double play.
“I was ready for a ball to be hit to me,” said Toglia. “I was going through what I was going to do in my head. I looked the runner at third back and I saw the runner at second take off and I knew we had a rundown. I checked the tying runner again and then just threw to second.”
“Bizarre ninth inning,” said Mike Roberts bluntly after the game. “As I told our guys after, we played well enough through the first eight innings to give us some cushion. Most importantly, we’re getting on the bus with a win.”
Bryce Jarvis (Duke) got the win for Cotuit, giving up one earned run in five innings of work, while striking out two on only three hits.
“When I couldn’t go to my fastball, I felt like my changeup was really working,” said Jarvis postgame. “It was an easy pitch to get strikes with, whether they were swinging or called.”
Aldrete started the scoring back in the second inning, as his RBI single scored Logan Wyatt (Louisville) to give Orleans a 1-0 lead.
But Cotuit would come back for four runs in the fifth inning, taking the lead from the Firebirds. Brady Smith (Florida) tied the game with an RBI single, and Will Robertson (Creighton) hit an RBI single of his own to give Cotuit the lead.
Zach Biermann (Coastal Carolina) and Toglia decided put up RBI singles as well, giving Cotuit a 4-1 lead after five innings. The RBI single parade continued in the sixth inning, as Peyton Burdick (Wright State) knocked in Mike Salvatore (Florida State), and Smith added another RBI, extending Cotuit’s lead to 6-1.
The Kettleers will head back to Lowell Park on Saturday, as they host the Brewster Whitecaps. They defeated Brewster 8-6 at Stony Brook Field on Wednesday, and are 2-1 against them this season. First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m.