WAREHAM, MA: After a series of games in which the Gatemen were ahead or tied heading into the later innings, the story was different Wednesday night in Wareham’s 5-1 loss to Harwich at Spillane Field.
Gatemen starting pitcher Dalton Brown (Texas Tech), fresh off his arrival to the Cape on Tuesday, toed the rubber and surrendered three runs in the first inning. Brown hit two batters in the frame and was hurt by an error that would have ended the inning. But the frame rolled on and Mariners shortstop C.J. Hinojosa (Texas) ripped a two-out, two-run double to left field to open up an early 3-0 Harwich lead.
Brown settled down from there and didn’t allow another hit until the fourth inning before he gave way to Wareham right-hander Dillon Ortman (Auburn) after 3.1 innings.
The Gatemen went quietly against Harwich starting pitcher Pat Connaughton (Notre Dame) in the first, but the Wareham offense threatened in the home half of the second. The first three batters of the inning — shortstop Mikey White (Alabama), second baseman Ethan Gross (Memphis) and right fielder Brock Stewart (Illinois State) — all reached against Connaughton, who was making his last start of the summer before returning to Notre Dame for basketball workouts.
But with the bases juiced and nobody out, Connaughton got the next three Gatemen to go down in quick succession and escaped with no damage done. In total, Wareham left nine men on base in the first four innings.
The Gatemen did get one across the plate in the bottom of the fourth when left fielder Tino Lipson (UC-Davis), who was tied for the league lead with eight hits entering Wednesday’s action, laced an RBI single to center field to plate Stewart, who walked to lead off the inning.
Fellow Notre Dame and Harwich pitcher Sean Fitzgerald relieved Connaughton in the sixth inning, and Fitzgerald spun three perfect innings to baffle the Wareham offense.
In a similar fashion, Ortman was outstanding through 4.2 innings in which he kept the Gatemen within striking distance; the Auburn right-hander struck out six Mariners and only allowed one hit.
Harwich tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning and closed out Wareham in the bottom of the ninth to get back to .500 at 3-3. The Gatemen, meanwhile, slipped to 1-5. Wareham will soon be buoyed by the returns of the 11 players participating in this week’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Four teams, three of which have now been eliminated, represented the Gatemen in Omaha.
The Gatemen are back in action Thursday when they square off with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks at 6 p.m. at McKeon Park in Hyannis.
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.