Falmouth, MA- The 2,000+ fans in attendance at Guv Fuller Field were in for a thriller on Sunday evening as the Cotuit Kettleers and Falmouth Commodores both put their best foot forward in a rivalry matchup. Cotuit’s pitching staff and defense propelled the Kettleers to a nail-biting 3-2 win over the Commodores. The win moved the Kettleers back to .500 as they now stand at 8-8 through 16 games. Head coach Mike Roberts was pleased with not just the outcome, but his team’s effort on Sunday night. He said, “It’s just compete and Falmouth competed like crazy too. It was just a great Cape League baseball game and tonight we were fortunate to come out with the 3-2 win.”
Moments that mattered:
Mathews escapes first inning jam, impresses in debut
Quinn Mathews (Stanford) got the start on the mound tonight in his first appearance as a Kettleer. Mathews got himself into a quick jam. The southpaw loaded the bases with no outs after two walks and a hit-by-pitch. After the early miscues, Mathews was able to lock in and show his best stuff. The Stanford product froze the Commodores’ cleanup hitter on a 3-2 fastball down in the zone for out #1. He made the next two hitters look silly with back-to-back swinging strikeouts to strand the bases loaded.
“It just took me a second to get locked in. Maybe I didn’t get myself worked up enough. Came out a little slower than I should have been. It’s good competition out here, obviously. So I was fortunate to come back, lock in, and make pitches when I needed to get out of the jam,” said Mathews.
After escaping the first inning jam, Mathews was dominant. He didn’t allow a hit over 3.1 scoreless innings. The left-handed pitcher struck out seven total batters and allowed just one runner to reach base over his last 2.1 IP.
Roberts was impressed with what he got out of Mathews in his first appearance. Roberts said, “I enjoyed watching him. He’s loose. We’ve always loved having Stanford players in Cotuit and we are really looking forward to having Quinn the rest of the summer.”
Cotuit opens up three-run lead behind productive outs
After two scoreless innings to start the game, the Kettleers opened the scoring in the third inning. Brooks Baldwin (UNC Wilmington) drove in Ryan Ritter (Kentucky) with a groundout to plate the first run of the game. In the following inning, Ben Rice (Dartmouth) plated the Kettleers’ second run with a sacrifice fly deep into left field. Andy Garriola (Old Dominion) made it three straight innings with a Cotuit run in the fifth inning. Garriola stayed hot as he drove in Baldwin with an RBI-single.
The Kettleers didn’t get any more runs after the fifth inning as they couldn’t break through, but the three early runs were enough. “We couldn’t find a big inning. Couldn’t quite get the big hit, but three runs was enough to win, so we’ll take it,” said Roberts.
‘Instinctive’ defensive plays, Peavyhouse save the day in the ninth
The Commodores cut the Kettleers lead to one after seven with two solo home runs. Zach Fruit (Eastern Michigan) was able to calm down the Falmouth rally in the eighth inning as he stranded two runners with his second strikeout. In the ninth inning, Fruit ran into trouble again, but still didn’t fold. Two walks and a wild pitch put the tying run on third and go-ahead run on second with no outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Jonathan French chopped a grounder up the middle that looked like a game-winning hit off the bat, but Fruit showed that pitchers are athletes too. Fruit leaped up and knocked the ball down with his hand and recovered to throw the ball to first for out #1 while holding the tying run at third base. After the impressive play, Fruit had to be removed from the game due to bruising on his hand. With nobody warming up in the bullpen, Roberts decided to turn to Shaddon Peavyhouse (Coastal Carolina).
Roberts said, “I’m standing there on the mound and I know Zach’s hand is a little bit bruised and I’m saying, okay, who’s the guy that I think has the type of breaking ball that can get these left-handed hitters out? And that’s the reason I went with Peavyhouse and oh wow, he threw the ball really well.”
After getting all the warmup time he needed, Peavyhouse went to work against the Falmouth hitters. The right-handed pitcher induced a foul pop up behind the plate against his first batter. The ball bounced off Matthew Donlan’s (UConn) glove, but Baldwin, who had hustled from third base, was able to grab the ball off the deflection for out #2.
With the Cotuit dugout starting to feel a win, Peavyhouse attacked the last hitter to seal the deal. The right-handed pitcher struck out a Commodore on three pitches to end the game as the Kettleers’ dugout erupted after a tense and wild bottom of the ninth. “It was crazy. I wasn’t really expecting to go in, but I knew going in, I just needed to attack and I had to just live in the zone. I had to try to get either soft contact or just attack. And I just went with the attack,” said Peavyhouse after picking up his first save of the season.
After the crazy ninth inning, Roberts emphasized one word over and over: compete. Of his team’s effort in the wild ninth inning, Roberts said, “I think it’s just compete, compete, compete. You never give up competing. I thought you saw some really instinctive baseball plays. Fruit with his hand. If he doesn’t get the hand up, we don’t win that game. He got the hand up and then Brooks Baldwin getting the pop-up, that’s a very instinctive baseball play.”
Mathews: 3.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 7 K
Eric Brown (Coastal Carolina): 2-4
Cam Hill (Stetson): 2-3, 2B, SB
Ryan Long (Pomona-Pitzer): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 0 R
Ritter: 1-2, 1 R, 1 SB
Up Next- The Kettleers will travel to Wareham for the first time this season on Monday night. Cotuit and Wareham have both taken a game through two games against each other. First pitch will be at 6:45 from Spillane Field.