By James Nahikian
After originally giving Mike Ford (Princeton) a base hit in the bottom of the seventh inning, the official scorer changed his ruling late after tonight’s game and an error was given to first basemen Eric Fisher (Arkansas). The change in ruling gave the Braves’ pitching staff a combined no-hitter.
The Braves defeated the Cotuit Kettleers by a score of 8-0 at Lowell Park. Austin Gomber (Florida Atlantic), Josh Laxer (Ole Miss) and Ryan Harris (Florida) combined for the no-hitter on the night for the Braves. The win was Bourne’s fifth in a row and it was also the third straight contest that the Braves shutout their opponent.
Early on, the game was dominated by both team’s starting pitchers. Cotuit’s Alex Haines (Seton Hill) pitched five scoreless innings and struck out seven batters.
On the other hand, Bourne’s Austin Gomber was even better. The left-hander threw five hitless innings, striking out five batters.
“I was able to throw both of my change-up and my slider for strikes today,” said Gomber. “When you got a no-hitter going, teams always get a little antsy looking for that first hit. Definitely later in the game I got helped out a little bit by them, but I was able to throw all of my pitches for strikes.”
The scored remained deadlocked at zero after seven innings of play, but the Braves were able to scratch across two runs in the top of the eighth inning to take the lead for good.
After Chad Carroll (James Madison) struck out to start the frame, Bobby Boyd (West Virginia) reached first base on a beautifully placed bunt down the first baseline. Tim Caputo (Rhode Island) then reached on an infield single and Eric Fisher advanced both of the runners into scoring position with a ground out. Christian Cecilio (San Francisco), who was Cotuit’s third pitcher on the night, then threw a wild pitched that scored Boyd and advanced Caputo to third base. Max Pentecost (Kennesaw State) followed suit by legging out an infield single that scored Caputo, making the score 2-0.
Bourne would then break the game wide open in the top of the ninth inning, as the Braves plated six runs.
Pat Kelly (Nebraska), Mason Robbins (Southern Miss) and Matt Gonzalez (Georgia Tech) started the inning with three straight singles to load the bases. And after Carroll lined out to third base, both Boyd and Caputo were hit by pitches and Bourne stretched their lead to 5-0. Fisher then scorched a bases clearing triple down the first baseline that brought home Gonzalez, Boyd and Caputo.
“I kind of stepped back and took a deep breath,” said Fisher after getting into a nice hitter’s count before his three-RBI triple. “I was able to see the next pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Pentecost then scored Fisher after a throwing error from third basemen Elliot Caldwell (Spartanburg Methodist), making the score 8-0.
The bullpen continued to mow down the Cotuit lineup after Gomber’s departure.
Josh Laxer pitched three scoreless innings to keep the no-hit bid alive. The right-hander also struck out one batter in the process.
Ryan Harris then finished off the historic effort for the Braves. Harris, who was making his second appearance of the summer, pitched a hitless ninth inning to secure the win and the no-hitter for the Braves.
Along with the no-hitter, the Braves’ pitching staff has now thrown 33 consecutive scoreless innings and the team is now above the .500 mark for the first time on the season.
The Braves will be back at Doran Park tomorrow night, as they will take on the Falmouth Commodores. First pitch is at 6 pm. The Commodores defeated the Braves 6-0 on June 14th at Guv Fuller Field in the only meeting so far between the two teams.