WAREHAM, MA: The Gatemen offense was held in check for the second consecutive night by Bourne as the Braves took the tail end of the home-and-home series 6-1 on Thursday at Spillane Field.
With the victory, Bourne improved to 9-9 and the Gatemen fell to 3-15. Wareham only mustered four hits in the holiday matchup and had just two baserunners after the third inning.
The Braves struck first with runs in the top of the first and second innings. After Wareham starting pitcher Fred Shepard (Amherst) struck out the first two batters of the ball game, Bourne catcher Max Pentecost (Kennesaw State) smacked a double to left-center field and came around to score when the following batter, left fielder Clint Freeman (East Tennessee State), ripped an RBI single that took a wicked hop and bounced over the glove of Gatemen first baseman Trevor Podratz (Hawaii).
In the second inning, with one out and nobody on, Braves first baseman Tyler Kuresa blasted a solo home run to deep right-center field to put the Braves out in front 2-0.
The Gatemen began the comeback effort in the bottom of the third inning. Left fielder Adam Toth (Baylor) reached on an infield single and scored when leadoff man Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) ripped an RBI triple to right-center field. Bourne starting pitcher Jaron Long (Ohio State), however, set down the next two Gatemen batters to end the threat and strand Sturgeon at third.
Things unraveled for Wareham in the fifth inning. The first four Braves all reached on singles and Bourne sent all nine men to the plate. In total, Bourne scored four runs on six hits in the inning to take a 6-1 lead. Shepard surrendered six runs on 12 hits in 4.2 innings. Shepard did rack up a season-high eight strikeouts.
Right-hander Jared Ruxer (Louisville) came on in relief of Shepard and was excellent. The Indianapolis native worked 3.1 innings of shutout baseball in which he gave up just two hits, struck out three Braves and didn’t issue a walk.
Sturgeon, a two-way player, worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning on the mound. Gatemen second baseman Brett Pirtle (Mississippi State), who appeared as a defensive substitute in the eighth inning Wednesday, made his true summer debut on Thursday. The switch-hitting Pirtle batted third in the Wareham lineup and singled to center field in his first at-bat of the season. Pirtle later laced a line drive to center field that was caught by Bourne’s Bobby Boyd (West Virginia).
The Gatemen send left-hander Will Coursen-Carr to the hill tomorrow to face Chatham. These two teams met on opening day back on June 12th, and the Anglers used a big eighth inning to win 4-0.
First pitch between the Gatemen and the Anglers is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Veterans Field on Friday.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show will begin around 6:45 p.m.