WARHAM, MA: All regular season, the Gatemen had trouble putting together complete efforts in all three phases of the game. Clearly the Wareham lineup, starting rotation, and bullpen were saving their best collective effort for game one of the playoffs, a 7-1 victory over Falmouth tonight at Spillane Field.
Starting ace Kendall Graveman (Mississippi State) set a decisive tone for Wareham from the get-go. In spite of allowing a leadoff base runner in each of the first four innings, Graveman kept the Commodores off the scoreboard until Michael O’Neill (Michigan) stroked a solo home run to left in the sixth. Graveman left the game with two outs in the seventh and a comfortable 7-1 advantage.
Led by cleanup hitter and MVP candidate Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech), the Gatemen offense backed up Graveman’s strong performance. With two outs in the first, Horan bounced a high chopper over the glove of Jonathan McGibbon (Clemson) and down the right field line. Ryan Sullivan (Seton Hall), who was off on the pitch from first, hustled around to score and give the Gatemen an early 1-0 lead.
Scoring first was important but the Gatemen offense broke the game open two innings later. With the bases loaded and two outs, Falmouth starter Trey Masek (Texas Tech) threw a wild pitch that plated Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) from third. One pitch later, Ty Ross (LSU) ripped a double to left center that scored Horan and Mott Hyde (Georgia Tech) to open up a 4-0 Wareham lead. Dustin DeMuth (Indiana) continued the barrage with a single up the middle that plated Ross and made it 5-0. When it was all said and done, four two out runs had opened up an insurmountable Gatemen lead.
Graveman handed the ball over to Nick Rumbelow (LSU) with two outs in the seventh and the bullpen sealed the wire to wire, three phase game one win. Over the next inning and a third, Rumbelow struck out all four batters he faced in perhaps the most dominant outing of the season for the Cape League all-star. Fellow all-star Colby Suggs (Arkansas) then worked a scoreless ninth to close out the 7-1 victory.
The Gatemen are now one win away from advancing to their third consecutive Western Division Finals series. Game two is tomorrow night at seven in Falmouth. Barrett Astin (Arkansas) gets the ball for Wareham.