Bourne ousts Orleans in nail biter

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BOURNE, Mass.–With eight games left in the regular season, the Bourne Braves (16-18-2) edged out another crucial win against the Orleans Firebirds (16-19-1) Sunday night, winning a 6-5 nail biter.

Cincinnati’s JT Perez took the mound for Bourne. With his seventh start of the season, he struggled to put away Firebird hitters through three innings of work. Ending his night, allowing four runs with one earned off eight hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

Bourne got on the board early, scoring a run off a fielder’s choice by Justin Yurchak (Binghamton.)

However, the Firebirds responded in the top of the second, capitalizing on a walk to Zach Kirtley (St. Mary’s College) and an error by third baseman Willy Yahn (UConn,) who was unable to field a tricky hop that bounced over his head into the outfield for his sixth error of the season to make it 2-1.

The Braves and Firebirds continued to battle back and forth throughout the night, with the Braves answering the Firebirds’ two runs with two of their own in the bottom-half of the second.

David MacKinnon (Hartford) lead off with a single to center, which Evan Mendoza (NC State) followed up with one of his own. Catcher John Jones (South Carolina) advanced both runners to second and third for Connor McVey (Cincinnati) to bring in MacKinnon on a fielder’s choice.

The Braves continued to move runners around, with Yahn knocking an RBI single into center to score Mendoza, to put the Braves ahead, 3-2.

UConn’s Ronnie Rossomando saved the thinning Braves’ bullpen by going four, strong innings of scoreless, three-hit baseball while striking out four.

Going into the seventh, it was another familiar late-game tie for the Braves.

Kent State’s Zach Willeman came in relief for Cory Abbott (Loyola Marymount) in the bottom of the seventh and the Braves were able to get ahead by a string of singles from the middle of the lineup.

Yahn ignited the offense with a lead off single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He was then moved to third off a single by Jake Mangum (Mississippi State) and both were brought home by way of a two RBI single by Connor Wong (Houston.)

The insurance run scored by Mangum would later be needed, as Orleans attempted a rally comeback in the top of the eighth.

With Zach Spangler subbing for Rossomando, the Firebirds got their first base runner of the inning aboard off another error by Yahn, bringing his total to seven this season.

A followup single to left field advanced Scott Hurst (Cal State Fullerton) to scoring position and brought the game to another one-run deficit when Jon Escobar (Holy Cross) relieved Spangler and surrendered an RBI single to the hot-hitting Brian Miller (UNC Chapel Hill,) who owned Braves pitching the entire game; going 4 for 5 with three RBIs.

That was all the Firebirds could produce, as Escobar struck out the last two batters to end the inning and eventually earn the save to keep pace with the third-place Hyannis Harbor Hawks (17-19) in the West division standings.

The Braves have an off day Monday, and will head on the road to face the Cotuit Kettleers (12-23-1) Tuesday with probable starters, Rio Gomez (Arizona) and Bourne’s Tony Dibrell (Kennesaw State) taking the mound for a 5 p.m. matchup at Lowell Park.

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