By ERIC SILVERMAN & CHRIS ALIANO
WAREHAM, MA: – The Orleans Firebirds made their longest road trip of the season worthwhile, sweeping the Wareham Gatemen in an East vs. West double header on Saturday afternoon at Spillane Field.
The Firebirds (3-4) used a three-run third inning to pull ahead early in the first of two seven-inning contests, and then withheld a late Gatemen (2-4) rally to hand Gatemen starter Matt Barnes (Connecticut) his first loss of the season.
Adam McClain (Memphis) led off the bottom of the first inning with a double, and later scored on an error to give the Gatemen the early 1-0 lead.
Barnes found himself in a bases-loaded jam in the top of the third inning, and was a strike away from getting out of the inning. Instead, the Bethen, Conn., native surrendered a base hit to Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke) down the right field line, allowing two runs to score. Steve Selsky (Arizona) then scored from third after a Gatemen catcher Chris Walker (Fordham) attempted to throw out Piwnica-Worms stealing second. Neither infielder picked up the throw, and the ball sailed into the outfield, allowing Selsky to score the unearned run.
Orleans short stop Shon Roe (Loyola Maramount) led off the top of the fourth with a triple into deep center field, and scored in the next at-bat on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Stroman (Duke), extending the Firebirds’ lead to 4-1.
Wareham could get little going against Orleans starter Andrew Kittredge. The righty scattered five hits and struck out four in 4.1 innings of work. Barnes struck out five and walked two while giving up six hits in seven innings of work.
Derek Dennis (Michigan) led off the bottom of the fifth with a base hit to right field, and would later score on a sacrifice fly by Walker to pull the Gatemen to within 4-2. Orleans reliever John Brebbia (Elon) came in to pitch the final 2.2 for Orleans in the bottom of the fifth. Despite inheriting a bases-loaded, one-out situation, Brebbia limited the damage to just one run. He would go 2.2 innings and give up four hits to pick up the save.
Nico Rosthenhausler (Oklahoma State) reached on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the sixth, and after Dennis singled with one out, McClain connected with his second hit of the day to drive in Rosthenhausler, bringing Wareham to within one.
But after George Springer (Connecticut) led off the bottom of the seventh with a base hit and was sacrificed to second by Walker, Wareham could not connect with the game-tying hit, and the Gatemen dropped the first contest, 4-3.
Wareham didn’t fare any better in Game 2 of the double-header, falling 7-3 to Orleans.
In the top of the first with one out, Kevin Muno (San Diego) reached second base on an error when Gatemen starter Jed Bradley (Georgia Tech) (0-1) had trouble fielding a ground ball and threw it away. Muno stole third and then scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Firebirds and early 1-0 lead.
The top of the fourth started out similarly for Orleans, as Wareham third baseman Tyler Bream’s throwing error put on Brennan Gowens (Fresno State) on at first with one out. After Mick Doyle’s groundout moved Gowens to third, Cam Kneeland (UMass-Lowell) singled to left center and advanced to second on a throw to the infield. With runners at second and third, Danny Muno (Fresno State) hit a high fly ball over the right field fence for a 3-run homer.
The Gatemen responded in the bottom half of the inning, Jerrud Sabourin (Indiana) singled, Tyler Bream (Liberty) doubled, and Max Muncy (Baylor) singled to load the bases for Tony Caldwell. The catcher singled to bring home Sabourin and put Wareham on the board. Bream then scored on a Derek Dennis groundout, to cut the Gatemen’s deficit to 4-2.
Steve Selsky brought the Firebirds’ lead back to three after a monster solo shot into the left field bleachers. Wareham scored in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 5-3 game.
Orleans added to its lead in the top of the seventh with Shon Roe’s 2-RBI single off of reliever Kenneth Ferrer (Elon). Although LJ Mazzilli (Connecticut) reached first base in the bottom of the seventh with his first hit of the season, Wareham failed to make a comeback and fell 7-3 to the Firebirds.
Jed Bradley took the loss in his first start this season for the Gatemen, allowing five runs in six innings while striking out seven.
Wareham looks for its second road win of the season when it visits Harwich Sunday. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.