Firebirds Sweep Cotuit At Home To Extend Winning Streak

By Greg Joyce

On Sunday at Eldredge Park, the Orleans Firebirds combined the home run ball with timely pitching to produce a sweep of their doubleheader against the Cotuit Kettleers. They won game one by a score of 4-3, and game two by a score of 2-1, securing their third and fourth straight wins.

In the nightcap of the doubleheader, the Firebirds got a home run from Rudy Flores (Florida International) into the Orleans bullpen in the bottom of the sixth inning to give them the 2-1 lead.

“It was really a big home run by Rudy,” field manager Kelly Nicholson said. “Rudy Flores is a really good hitter. And boy he got all of that one. That was nice to see. It obviously gave us a lot of momentum in the dugout going into those late innings. He came up huge.”

That score would hold on for the win, but not before a dramatic top of the seventh. Kyle Hunter (Dartmouth) entered his fourth inning of work on the mound for Orleans in the seventh, but walked the first batter and hit the second. Mike Hauschild (Dayton) came in to relieve Hunter, and after Cotuit used a double steal to move both runners over, he intentionally walked the first batter he faced. Hauschild then came up with a huge strike out of Kevin Mager (Rollins) on three pitches. Next up was Kyle Wren (Georgia Tech), who got down a bunt right in front of home plate. Catcher Mike Marjama (Long Beach State) picked up the ball with his foot on home plate, getting the force out at home and then threw down to first to complete the 2-3 double play to end the game. Hauschild recorded the save and once again came into a tough situation and pitched extremely well for Orleans.

“Fabulous,” Nicholson said of Hauschild’s outing. “He’s really poised. He’s going to keep the ball down and throw strikes and he got a big strikeout, and then got the bunt and Marjama made a nice play.”

Orleans scored its first run in the second inning when Shon Roe (Loyola Marymount) knocked in Steve Selsky (Arizona) on a single through the hole on the left side. It was Roe’s second RBI in as many nights.

In his final appearance for the Firebirds before he leaves for Team USA, Marcus Stroman (Duke) pitched the first three innings of the game. He allowed no runs, no hits, and struck out three.

In the first game of the day, the Firebirds hit three home runs to propel them to a 4-3 win over the Kettleers.

The first home run came in the third inning when Maxx Tissenbaum (Stony Brook) hit a fly ball to left field, and it carried up and over the fence for a two-run round tripper. It was his first home run of the year, and his second hit of the game.

Ben Waldrip (Jacksonville State) added a solo bomb in the next inning, taking a pitch to the opposite field for a home run. The ball hit the top of the netting in left field over the 350’ marker, and probably would have traveled farther than that if not stopped by the netting. The shot was Waldrip’s second of the season, and the Medford, Mass. native went 3-3 in the game, adding a long double to dead center field in the following inning.

“The neat thing about TIssenbaum’s and Waldrip’s [home runs] were that they were opposite field, which is kind of the perfect home run, when you can go opposite field,” Nicholson said. “Especially in this ballpark. Oftentimes the wind is blowing in and it’s not easy to get balls out of here.

“Benny Craig, our hitting guy, has been doing a great job with our hitters, and they’re spending a lot of time during early work and so far, so good. It’s paying off.”

Selsky joined the home run parade in the fifth inning, sending a pitch out of the park to make it 4-1. It was Selsky’s second home run in as many games, and he is now hitting .400.

Ryan Carpenter (Gonzaga) picked up the win for the Firebirds, throwing five innings, letting up one run, four hits and striking out three.

Trevor Gott (Kentucky) recorded his third save of the year, working 1.1 innings and getting out of a jam in the sixth and left the tying runner at third in the seventh. He got the final out of the game himself on a slow roller to the left of the mound. Gott sprinted to the ball, barehanded it and backhanded the ball to first to end the game.

According to Nicholson, getting the sweep of Cotuit was “huge,” but the skipper still sees areas in which the Firebirds need to improve upon going forward.

“We had a good result tonight, but I was not real pleased with the whole process in game one or game two,” he said. “We had a good result, but if we continue with that process, we’re not going to get good results. We really need to clean up some stuff on our bunt defenses and our pickoffs and our base-running, certain things. The result was good, but we need to clean up our process.”

The Firebirds will enjoy a well-deserved and much-needed day off on Monday, before they lace up their cleats again on Tuesday in Brewster at 5:00 pm. The next home game is on Thursday night, when the Firebirds host the Harwich Mariners at 7:00 pm.

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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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