By SEAN TENAGLIA (Gatemen Beat Writer)
BOURNE, MA: A day after the Gatemen bats were silenced by the Firebirds in Orleans, the Wareham lineup tallied 13 hits Monday night in Bourne. However, the Gatemen (7-16) were unable to convert those base hits into runs as they left nine men on base and squandered opportunities in an 8-5 loss to the Braves at Doran Park.
The Gatemen loaded the bases with one out in the first inning after three consecutive singles from shortstop Kramer Robertson (LSU), designated hitter Keaton Aldridge (Memphis), and catcher Chris Chinea (LSU). They were unable to convert the base runners into runs after Bourne starter Ryan Kellogg (Arizona State) retired the next two batters to escape the jam.
Kellogg was fantastic on the mound for the Braves and faced fifteen consecutive Wareham batters without allowing a hit. The Gatemen did break through in the top of the sixth when Kramer Robertson crushed a no-doubter of a home run over the left field wall to cut the deficit at the time to 4-1. Robertson continues to hit the ball well for the Gatemen, and was 3-5 on the night with three runs scored and an RBI.
“I was just seeing the ball well,” Robertson said. “My timing felt good and my swing felt great. I saw the ball really well and took advantage of the pitches I got to find some holes in the field.”
After Aldridge singled to center, Kellogg induced a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Chinea that killed much of the momentum for the Gatemen in the sixth. In 7.0 innings of work, Kellogg allowed just the one run and six hits, while striking out six Wareham batters.
Bourne quickly jumped out to a lead on the Gatemen and starting pitcher Brock Downey (Murray State) in the early innings of the ballgame. In the bottom of the first inning, shortstop Richie Martin Jr. (Florida) drilled a 1-1 pitch from Downey over the Bourne bullpen for a leadoff solo home run.
The Braves took advantage of some Wareham fielding miscues to pick up three more runs in the bottom of second. After a pop-up from designated hitter Zander Weil (Vanderbilt) was buffeted around by the wind and dropped in the infield, left fielder Brett Sullivan (Pacific) loaded the bases with a bunt that bounced off the glove of first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville). Bourne capitalized on these blunders to grab three runs and take a 4-0 lead via a hit-by-pitch, an RBI groundout, and a sacrifice fly.
Downey settled in on the mound and worked efficiently through the middle innings of the ballgame, retiring eight consecutive Bourne batters. The Braves added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a solo shot from Weil and a sacrifice fly from catcher Brian Serven (Arizona State) to increase their lead to 6-1. Downey’s night ended after the sixth, having allowed ten hits and six runs, while picking up three strikeouts.
After Bourne increased its lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Wareham bats seemingly came alive in the final two innings. The Gatemen strung together five consecutive singles to lead off the top of the eighth against reliever Jacob Sparger (Louisville) and cut the score to 8-3. Aldridge and Chinea contributed RBI base hits in that stretch.
With the bases loaded and still no outs, the Braves brought on their closer John Gorman (Boston College), who executed his job to perfection. A strikeout, a fly out, and a groundout ended the inning and eliminated the Gatemen’s best threat late in the ballgame.
Once again, the Gatemen loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, this time with one out. Chinea delivered with a two-run single down the right field line to cut the score to 8-5, but he was thrown out attempting to turn the hit into a double. Gorman caught left fielder Kyri Washington (Longwood) swinging on a breaking ball to close out the game and leave Gatemen fans wondering what could have been.
The Gatemen will look for a more consistent team performance on Tuesday night when they return home to Spillane Field (7 p.m. ET) for a matchup with the Brewster Whitecaps. Consistency in all facets of the ballgame will be essential for the Gatemen to string together a few wins this week.
As always, you can watch the live stream of the game by accessing our “Gatemen Pressbox” page. The pre-game show begins around 6:40 p.m. Like the Wareham Gatemen Baseball Facebook page and follow @WarehamGatemen for all the latest news on the team.