HARWICH, MA: An early 6-0 hole was too much to overcome for Wareham in a 6-5 loss to Eastern Division leader Harwich at Whitehouse Field.
The two best power hitting teams on the Cape got off to an inauspicious offensive start. In the first inning and a half, all nine batters who came to the plate on both sides were retired. But the Mariners quickly snapped out of their daze against Gatemen starter Fred Shepard (Amherst). On the first pitch of the bottom of the second, Eric Jagielo (Notre Dame) launched a solo home run over the right field fence to put Harwich in front 1-0. Jagielo’s tenth dinger of the season put him in a four way tie with teammate Phillip Ervin (Samford) and Wareham power duo Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech) and Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) for the league home run lead. After the home run, the wheels started to fall off for Shepard. Brett Austin (NC State) and Tyler Sciacca (Villanova) singled and doubled to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Both came around to score after Same Dove (Georgia Tech) grounded out and AJ Reed (Kentucky) singled.
Already in a 3-0 hole, Shepard gave up three two out runs in the third to put Wareham in a daunting 6-0 hole. For the rest of the game, the Gatemen pitching staff settled down and allowed the offense to chip away. In the sixth, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana), Horan, and Palka all reached base to start the inning. A Ty Ross (LSU) single and a Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) RBI groundout cut the deficit to 6-2 before Harwich righty CK Irby (Samford) got the final two outs in relief of starter David Whitehead (Elon).
In the eighth, Wareham inched closer at 6-3 when Horan launched his league leading eleventh home run over the centerfield fence. The blast also tied Horan with Bobby Wine (1973) and Steve Newell (1982) for the Gatemen franchise record.
In the ninth, Wareham needed three runs to tie and four to take the lead. For a fleeting moment, it looked like Cooper Faris’ club may have had a decisive rally up its sleeve. Ethan Gross (Memphis), Cole Sturgeon (Louisville), and Ryan Sullivan (Seton Hall) hit three straight singles to start the inning and cut the deficit to 6-4. Unfortunately, with runners on first and third and nobody out, Schwarber didn’t continue his hot post all-star hitting streak (8-10 going into this at-bat). Instead, he bounced into 4-6-3 double play that scored a run but effectively killed the rally. One batter later, Horan struck out to end the game.