July 21, 2023 12:04 am | by Joanna Dwyer
The Gatemen took a quick trip to Commodore Hendy Field on Thursday night to face off against the Falmouth Commodores. In a bottom of the eighth comeback fueled by Arizona Wildcat Garen Caulfield, Wareham snapped their losing streak and claimed a 5-2 victory over Falmouth.
Wareham had fallen victim to late game heroics recently by their opponents, but tonight was their night. Dorian Gonzalez (University of Miami), Rene Lastres (UNC Charlotte transfer), and Michael Brooks (Kansas) all walked to juice the bases. JC Colon (Missouri) stepped into the box and followed suit, taking a walk and bringing in Gonzalez to score. The bases loaded walk helped Wareham take a 3-2 lead. Caulfield approached the plate and eyed down the Falmouth pitcher. With a swing of the bat, Caulfield slapped a two run single before being tagged out at second, but the damage was done.
Riley Eikhoff (Coastal Carolina) climbed onto the hill for the Gatemen. Eikhoff has been a reliable starter for Wareham, completing six innings of work on the day. Gatemen starters have only pitched six innings three times this season, two of them being by Eikhoff.
The Gatemen tacked on the first run of the night, when Nick McLain (Arizona State) sent Bobby Boser (USF) across home on an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first.
Eikhoff only showed weakness one key time on the night, giving up a two-run homer in the top of the second. After that, he locked in. The righty allowed just six hits while striking out six batters and walking now.
The next four innings of the game showcased high quality performances by the pitchers. Wareham, however, was ready to attack.
The Gatemen had two runners on in the bottom of the seventh with Colon leading off second base. Tommy Splaine (Arizona) had the hot bat as of late for Wareham, but the Commodores shut him down so far in the game. Splaine went 0-3 in his first three at-bats, but Wareham needed him to come through. He hit a single through the gap into the outfield to bring Colon charging in from second to tie the game up.
“It feels big,” Splaine said. “I was just trying to get that run in any way possible and just get the next guy up.”
The RBI single helped Splaine to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
“I’m just seeing the ball well,” Splaine said. “ I’m trying to attack a fastball and not get behind in the count.”
As the game sat tied at 2-2, Jackson Reid (Western Carolina) came in for relief to start the eighth inning. Coming into the matchup, Reid had pitched just 0.1 innings in a loss to the Chatham Anglers. He faced just two batters and allowed one hit in the game. Tonight’s game was a different situation.
“It was really nice,” Reid said. “I’ve been training all summer waiting for my opportunity. I know that the team has had their ups and downs and I’m hoping that I can help turn this thing around.”
Reid allowed three hits through 2.1 innings of work and struck out three of the nine batters he faced, all while walking out of the night with the win.
“I really wanted to trust my stuff and know that if I’m in the zone, that I’m gonna beat people,” Reid said. “I think the common theme is that all of us just need to learn to trust our stuff a little bit more and when we do and let the ball get put in play, our defense is going to make plays and that was the theme for the whole night.”
The Commodores tried to spark a comeback of their own with two singles, but Reid and the Gatemen defense was able to shut them down, ending the night with a thunderous strikeout to shut the door on Falmouth.
Manager Ryan Smyth had said his team needed to play for their pride, and that’s just what they did with the big win.
“No matter what situation we’re in from a standings standpoint, I wanna see these guys compete and play baseball and wanna win,” Smyth said. “And that’s exactly what we got tonight.”
The Gatemen will be back at Spillane Field to face the Cotuit Kettleers in the last game before All-Star weekend. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and Splaine said they’re taking the positives from the win into the game tomorrow.
“Just keep doing what we’re doing today,” Splaine said. “Playing clean baseball, throwing strikes, and playing smart baseball in general.”