By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
WAREHAM, MA: Pitching to Cotuit catcher Tres Barrera (Texas) in the top of the eighth inning, Kyle Cody worked quickly to get ahead in the count, 1-2. The Kentucky right-hander then got Barrera to chase a fastball high in the zone for strike three to end the inning.
This final at-bat in Cody’s stellar performance is indicative of the way the six-foot-seven starter pitched all night. In 8.0 innings of work, Cody allowed seven hits, three runs, and two walks while striking out nine Cotuit batters. His dominant performance on the mound guided the Gatemen (7-14) to a 7-3 win over the Kettleers and ended the team’s three-game losing streak.
Even with a pitch count well over 100, Cody returned to the mound for the seventh and eighth innings and gave Head Coach Cooper Farris a much-needed deep start from the pitching rotation.
“He got ahead against hitters,” Farris said. “When he gets ahead, he’s tough because the hitters can’t cheat on his pitches. As he got into the game, all of his pitches got better.
“He kept asking for the ball and said he felt fine, so we kept going with him.”
The Kettleers struck first in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead. Left fielder Jackson Glines (Michigan) led off with a walk and advanced to second on a ground out from second baseman Grant Kay (Louisville). First baseman Jameson Fisher (Southeastern Louisiana) brought in Glines with an RBI single up the middle to give Cotuit the lead.
Wareham battled right back to grab two runs and take the lead off Cotuit starting pitcher Logan James (Stanford) in the bottom of the first. Second baseman Kramer Robertson (LSU) drilled a double to the wall in right field with one out and came around to score when catcher Keaton Aldridge (Memphis) crushed another double to right. Aldridge scored the go-ahead run from third base when a pickoff attempt to first got away from Fisher.
The Gatemen added another run in the bottom of the second after loading the bases with no outs. Designated hitter Willie Calhoun (Arizona) hit a routine groundball to second that could have led to a double play, but Kay bobbled the ball and right fielder Corey Ray (Louisville) crossed the plate to give Wareham a 3-1 lead. With no outs, James got Robertson to strike out swinging and Aldridge to ground into a 3-2-3 double play to escape the bases-loaded jam and minimize the damage.
Two-out hitting from the Kettleers evened the score at 3-3 in the top of the third. Fisher lined a 3-2 pitch up the middle to put runners at first and second with two outs. A pass ball moved the runners into scoring position and proved costly as centerfielder Jake Fincher (NC State) drilled an 0-2 pitch to right-centerfield for a two-run double.
It was in the bottom of the fourth when the Wareham lineup found the offensive surge they were looking for. The Gatemen batted around, bringing ten men to the plate and loading the bases on two separate occasions against James and reliever Jackson McClelland (Pepperdine).
Small ball proved to be the answer for the Gatemen, who put runners on base via three walks and three infield singles. An RBI infield single from Calhoun brought in Ray to give the Gatemen a 4-3 lead. Robertson followed Calhoun with an RBI single of his own to increase the lead to 5-3. First baseman Nick Halamandaris (UC-Berkeley) walked with the bases loaded to bring in another run, while left fielder Kyri Washington (Longwood) moved the score to 7-3 with an RBI dribbler down the third base line.
The Gatemen offense would go quiet for the remainder of the game, but they provided Cody with all the run support he would need to hold off the Kettleers. After his rough third inning, Cody allowed only two total hits over his remaining 5.0 innings of work.
“Kyle did it again tonight,” Farris said. “He battled out of the third inning and kept making pitches. He’s been outstanding these last two games.”
Wareham also turned in an excellent defensive performance, featuring diving catches from centerfielder Charlie Warren (Rice) and Ray in right field. The team’s lone error came as a result of a miscommunication on a pop-up in the infield in the fifth inning, but proved harmless as Cody shut down Cotuit.
The Gatemen get back to work Sunday when they return to Orleans for a matchup with the Firebirds (6 p.m. ET). A win at Eldridge Park would keep the Gatemen rolling as they look to continue moving up in the Western Division standings.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 5:40 p.m. Like the Wareham Gatemen Baseball Facebook page and follow @WarehamGatemen for all the latest news on the team
“Coop’s Scoop” – Postgame interview with Manager Cooper Farris – Click below to listen to interview