WAREHAM, MA: One blowup inning from the Gatemen bullpen was all it took to turn a hotly contested pitcher’s duel into a comfortable 7-2 victory for Orleans tonight at Spillane Field.
For the second straight start, Brad Kuntz (Baylor) had perfect control of his powerful fastball as he worked it seamlessly on both corners to strike out nine Firebirds in seven innings. In his longest outing of the season, Kuntz gave up just one run on an Angelo LaBruna (Duke) RBI groundout in the second that plated Jake Hernandez (USC). For a while, it looked like that one run was all Orleans would need with Jarrett Arakawa (Hawaii) on the rubber. Arakawa pitched five and two thirds hitless innings before allowing a harmless single to Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) in the sixth. But with two outs in the seventh, Arakawa finally reached his tipping point when he surrendered a monstrous home run to Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) that cleared the right field fence by 15 feet and tied the score at one. He was than pulled by manager Kelly Nicholson for reliever Dylan Covey (San Diego). Covey retired Ty Ross (LSU) to end the inning.
The score was still tied at one in the top of the eighth when Kuntz was relieved by Clay Chapman (Florida Southern). After loading the bases with one out, Chapman allowed a tiebreaking sacrifice fly to Conrad Gregor (Vanderbilt). Two batters later, with the bases reloaded, Cody Kulp (Shippensburg) roped a gut busting two RBI double that broke the game open at 4-1. LaBruna followed with a two RBI double of his own that all but put the game out of reach at 6-1. Wareham only mustered one more run over the final two innings in the 7-2 loss.
TheGatemen’s second straight defeat dropped them a half game back behind Falmouth for third in the Western Division. Wareham is 15-19. The Commodores are 16-19.