By Ben Gainsboro, Stetson University
Photos by Josh Muir, Endicott College
July 9th, 2019
What Happened: Cotuit (12-11-2) fell to Bourne (9-14) at home on Tuesday night by a score of 6-4.
A Few Notables:
Oraj Anu (Kentucky) saw action for the first time in three games, hitting in the eight-spot against Bourne. He responded to the call, going 2-4 with a home run and all 4 RBI on the night for the Kettleers.
Even though he has appeared in just 20 of the 25 games to date, the big man from Orlando is still responsible for 4 home runs, which is tied for the most on the team with Nick Gonzales (New Mexico State), Casey Schmitt (San Diego State), and Parker Chavers (Coastal Carolina). He also has 15 RBI, which is tied for second on the team with Schmitt, right behind Gonzales (20 RBI).
The one knock on Anu so far this season? His strikeouts. The Kentucky power hitter had twenty strikeouts coming in today in twenty games.
The good news? Anu was not bit by the K-bug today, putting the ball in play in each of his four at bats. This resulted in the home run and single, as noted, but it also resulted in a hard-hit lineout in the fifth, and drive to center field in the seventh.
Bottom line: the big man was hitting the ball hard tonight, a good sign for Cotuit moving forward.
Evan Justice (NC State) was sharp tonight.
The big lefty from NC State was really struggling entering the game, and it was not much of a secret. In his three starts coming into the game, he was 0-2 with a 10.000 ERA and just three strikeouts.
In this one, Coach Mike Roberts used him off of the bench, instead, and he responded with what Roberts called: “easily his best outing of the season.” The numbers backed up that claim as well.
He threw three innings, allowing just one earned run, two hits, and a walk. He also struck out two and dropped his ERA by close to 2 whole points.
The one run he allowed in the game was sort of a fluke, as well, as he pitched two balls to Jared Poland (Louisville) to begin the eighth inning before being sat down.
Kole Ramage (Arkansas) came in to inherit the 2-0 count, and Poland later scored on a Kyle Hess (Pitt) single.
Had Justice not come out for the eighth, he could have easily finished the night with zero earned.
Regardless, Justice earned his coach’s praise for throwing sharply in his minimal innings.
Nick Gonzales saw his almost surreal on-base streak come to an end on the night. The New Mexico State product went 0-5 and was unable to reach base for the first time since August 1st, 2018, vs. Falmouth. In that game, he went 0-1.
The baseless night ended his ridiculous streak of 79 straight games reaching base.
If you think it was because of a lack of hard contact, you would be wrong.
He finished the game with a lineout, a hard-hit groundout (double play), another lineout, another well-hit groundout, and then a laser in the ninth to end the game. No strikeouts on the day.
The ending of the streak was a hard pill to swallow for anyone following it, but now you just need to say congratulations for the accomplishment.
0: Strikeouts for Cotuit batters on the day, a truly astounding stat considering 34 Kettleers went up to the plate in the ballgame.
1: Error on the night for the Kettleers. Ever since a June 28th disaster resulted in three errors for the Cotuit defense, the team has been far sharper on that side of the ball.
2: Hits for Allbry Major (Xavier). The number two hitter for Cotuit is now 7 for his last 14 at the plate, raising his average from .371 to .413 (42 points) in that span.
3: Strikeouts for starter Beck Way (Belmont Abbey) in just two innings of work. The hard throwing righty now has 12 strikeouts in just 9.2 innings of work.
4: RBI for Oraj Anu on the day. The total is his highest single-game mark of the year and is also the third straight game where a Kettleer has had at least three RBI. Parker Chavers had three against Bourne on July 7th, while Casey Schmitt had five last night against Wareham.
7: Strikeouts for Kettleer pitching on the day.
9: Hits for Cotuit, the third straight game where Cotuit has had at least nine hits.
11: Losses this season when Cotuit has had two, one, or zero extra base hits. Hint: That is all the losses on the year. When Cotuit has had three or more extra-base hits, they are a near flawless 11-0-1. They had just the one extra-base hit from Oraj Anu in this one.
79: Is where the on-base streak stops for Nick Gonzales, dating back to last season with Cotuit.
What’s Next? Cotuit (12-11-2) returns home on Wednesday, July 10th, to take on the Falmouth Commodores (12-9-1) in a battle for second place. Currently, the Commodores sit just one point (25) behind Cotuit (26) in the standings. First pitch at Lowell Park is set for 5:00 P.M.