Gatemen Beat Firebirds In One-Hit Shutout

By Greg Joyce

On a night when the weather finally warmed up for a beautiful night at Eldredge Park, the Orleans bats went cold. The Firebirds managed just one hit on Thursday night, and the Wareham Gatemen took the game by a score of 3-0.

Alex Sherrod (USC) had the only hit for the home team, a single to right field in the third inning. But the right fielder was later doubled up when Matt Duffy (Long Beach State) hit a fly ball to right and Sherrod was caught too far off the base, making the second out of a 9-3 double play.

On the mound for the Firebirds to start the game was Jason Wheeler (Loyola Marymount). The lefty went four plus innings, striking out four, walking three, and letting up four hits. He was charged with two runs, but neither was earned. Both runs came in the third inning, a frame that included three passed balls and an error.

“I didn’t think [Wheeler] was very sharp tonight,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “He didn’t have very good fastball command. He walked [three] guys, and that’s way too many through [four plus] innings. You gotta spot that fastball. I talked to him during the game, I thought everything was too firm. His fastball, slider, and he’s going to have to develop that changeup to be really effective out here this summer.”

Jeff Reynolds (Harvard) led off the third for the Gatemen with a single to right field. He moved to second on a passed ball, got to third on the error by Duffy, and scored on another passed ball. The other run came in to score on a single up the middle by Max Muncy (Baylor). Reynolds went 4-4 on the night, and drove in Wareham’s third run on a RBI single in the ninth off Kenny Long (Illinois State).

“We made an error that led to a couple of runs early when we got down, and that could have very easily been a 0-0 game going into the ninth,” Nicholson said. “But [Wareham] capitalized on mistakes and they put the ball in play when they needed to. They did a nice job tonight.”

The bright spot of the night for the Firebirds was Mike Hauschild (Dayton), who came into the game with one on and no outs in the fourth in relief of Wheeler. On his first pitch, Hauschild got the batter to ground into a 3-6-1 double play, and on his second pitch he induced an inning-ending ground ball out.

Hauschild needed just seven more pitches to work the fifth inning, and 27 pitches overall through his four scoreless innings pitched. Nine of the 12 outs that Hauschild recorded came via the ground ball.

“Outstanding job,” Nicholson said of Hauschild’s performance. “[Pitchers like Hauschild] are really effective, they’re very efficient, they pitch to contact, they have sink, they get ground balls, and they pound the zone. I was really proud of [Hauschild] and the way he threw the ball tonight.”

Shutting down Orleans on the mound was Justin Almung (Louisville), who allowed the one hit through six innings pitched. He only faced 20 batters through six innings, just two more than the minimum amount. Brent Suter (Harvard), Dillon Newman (Baylor), and Konner Wade (Arizona) came on in relief over the last three innings to keep the Firebirds off the scoreboard and out of the hit column.

Also of note on the night was Brandon Williams’ (Georgia State) impressive defense. The third baseman made a barehanded play on a slow roller down the line to get an out in the sixth inning. Later on in the eighth inning, Williams made a nice backhanded stab to start an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

The Firebirds continue their busy stretch of games tomorrow night in Falmouth at 7:00 pm. Follow the Firebirds on Twitter (@FirebirdsCCBL) for live updates during the game. Orleans next plays at Eldredge Park on Sunday afternoon when they host Cotuit for a doubleheader, the first game starting at 4:00 pm.


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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