WAREHAM, MA: A tough stretch and a tough season for the Wareham Gatemen continued on Friday night as the Harwich Mariners scored 9 runs and the Gatemen left 10 runners on base resulting in a lopsided 9-1 Harwich win at Spillane Field.
It was a one-run game in the top of the third inning.Harwich first baseman Ian Happ (Cincinnati) was at the plate with a runner aboard, two outs and a two-strike count. Wareham starting pitcher Tucker Simpson (Florida) fired home a knee-high changeup and Happ blasted out a two-run home run to make it 3-0 Harwich.
From there, the Mariners went on to win 9-1 over the Gatemen on Friday night at Spillane Field. Harwich finished with 12 hits while Wareham totaled 11 of its own, but — as Happ’s two-out, two-strike round-tripper exemplifies — the Mariners got the big hits in the big spots. The Gatemen, meanwhile, stranded 13 runners on base and left at least one aboard in every inning except the first and the ninth.
With the victory, the Mariners improved to 17-14 and maintained second place in the Eastern Division. The Gatemen fell to 6-25 and remain 17 points back of Bourne for fourth place in the Western Division.
Harwich jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when right fielder Ben Moore (Alabama) scored shortstop Branden Cogswell (Virginia) on a groundout. Happ’s home run in the third scored center fielder Tanner English (South Carolina), who led off the frame by working a four-pitch walk. In the fifth, third baseman Mitch Morales (Florida Atlantic) led off with a single to right field and came around with the fourth run of the night for Harwich on an RBI single to left-center field by left fielder Derek Fisher (Virginia).
After Harwich starting pitcher Nick Howard (Virginia) left after five innings of shutout baseball, the Gatemen got on the board in the bottom of the sixth against right-handed reliever Logan Jernigan (NC State). Wareham right fielder Sean McMullen (LSU) singled and scored two batters later when shortstop Ethan Gross (Memphis) smacked an RBI single to right field to cut the Harwich advantage to 4-1.
But the Mariners quickly responded with four more runs in the top of the seventh. The first three batters of the inning — English, Cogswell and Fisher — all reached against reliever Dillon Ortman (Auburn). English came in to score on a wild pitch before left-hander Ryan Riga (Ohio State) replaced Ortman. Riga got a quick flyout to left field, but Cogswell scored in the next at-bat after a Gatemen error. Harwich designated hitter Brett Austin (NC State) then doubled to left field and scored Fisher. Second baseman Gunnar Heidt then blooped in a single down the right-field line and scored Moore.
Wareham left two runners on base in each of the second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. McMullen and Gross each had three hits for the Gatemen and second baseman Brett Pirtle (Mississippi State) reached base three times.
Wareham right-hander Spencer Turnbull (Alabama) tossed the eighth and ninth innings and allowed just one run while striking out three.
The Gatemen are back in action Saturday when they travel to McKeon Park to square off with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 5:45 p.m.