More Solid Pitching Leads To Split Of Doubleheader

By Greg Joyce

Game 1

The weather finally gave way for Orleans’ doubleheader at Hyannis on Wednesday night, after being postponed twice before it was played last night. In the first game of the twin bill, Tyler Gebler (Rutgers) gave the Firebirds an impressive five innings on the mound, leading to a 5-1 Orleans victory.

The big right-hander from New Jersey used the ground ball to his advantage, recording nine of his fifteen outs on ground balls. He allowed just one run, struck out two, didn’t walk a batter, and recorded his first win of the season.

Gebler received good run support from his teammates, thanks to a four-run third inning. Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) got things started in the third with a line drive up the middle, followed by a single through the right side by Will Piwnica-Worms (Duke). Matt Lowenstein (Loyola Marymount) then dropped a bunt down the third base line, and the pitcher’s throw to get Duffy at third was late, loading the bases with no outs. Maxx Tissenbaum (Stony Brook) came up next and grounded a ball to the first baseman, who tried to get the force out at the plate, but his wild throw home went by the catcher, scoring Duffy. Piwnica-Worms came in to score on the next play when Steve Selsky (Arizona) was hit by a pitch. Steve Nyisztor (Rutgers) made it 4-0 when he hit a ground ball to the short stop, who flipped to second for one out, but Nyisztor hustled down the line to break up the double play. Rudy Flores (Florida International) then capped the rally with a single past the diving first baseman to drive in Tissenbaum.

The Firebirds first got on the scoreboard in the second. After a leadoff double by Selsky, Nyisztor laid down a sac-bunt to move the runner to third. Flores drove in Selsky when he grounded out to second, making it 1-0 Orleans.

Nick Mutz (Western Oklahoma) pitched the final two innings for the Firebirds, and was helped out of a jam in the sixth by the arm of Tarran Senay (NC State). The right fielder caught a fly ball for the second out, and gunned out the ensuing Harbor Hawk trying to score at home after tagging on the catch. Sennay threw a perfect cannon to catcher Jake Hernandez (USC), who slapped the tag on the runner to keep the score 5-1.

Game 2

In the second game of the doubleheader at McKeon Park, Matt Dunbar (College of Southern Nevada) was nearly flawless through six innings, but let up a walk off three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Harbor Hawks the 3-0 win.

Dunbar retired the first nine batters he saw in order through the first three innings, and had only allowed three hits after six innings. In the seventh inning though, the lefty got into trouble. The leadoff batter hit an infield single to first, where Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State) was playing deep and his throw to Dunbar at first was too late. The next batter hit a ground ball to short, but Shon Roe (Loyola Marymount) could not get a handle on the ball, putting runners on first and second. That set the stage for Hyannis’ Adam Walker (Jacksonville) to smack a three-run homer over the right field fence to win the game for the Harbor Hawks.

“I thought he pitched really well,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said of Dunbar. “But it’s tough to win a game when you don’t score any runs.”

The Firebirds were stifled by Hyannis’ pitching combo of Zach Cooper (Central Michigan) and Dylan Floro (Cal State Fullerton), managing just three hits in the game, none of which came in the final three innings.

Despite the loss, it was important that Dunbar lasted seven innings, meaning that Nicholson did not have to go to the bullpen at all in the nightcap. In the midst of a six-day, eight game stretch, the Firebirds will need all the healthy arms they can get going into the weekend.

“It’s really tough,” Nicholson said of the stretch. The team is currently on the shorter side for arms in the bullpen, but Dunbar’s complete game performance will go a long way in making more arms available in the coming days.

The Firebirds continue their busy schedule and return home to Eldredge Park on Thursday night at 7:00 pm when they will face the Wareham Gatemen. If you can’t make it out to the Park, be sure to listen in to the live broadcast and video of the game on www.orleansfirebirds.com.

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About firebirdsccbl
The official blog of the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Check here for the latest news on the Firebirds, and be sure to follow us on Facebook (Orleans Firebirds), Twitter (@FirebirdsCCBL) and YouTube (OrleansFirebirds).

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