BREWSTER, Mass.– In yet another hot night for Braves’ (14-15-2) bats, the pitching was unable to hold onto a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, with the Whitecaps (13-16-2) catching up to the Braves in the bottom of the eight for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.
The game concluded after nine-full innings because of the sunset, as the Braves dropped to third place in the West after a Wareham Gatemen (14-14-1) win.
Starting pitcher and All-Star Tony Dibrell went 4 1-3, giving up four hits with no earned runs, four walks and four strikeouts.
The Braves jumped out to a quick lead with more early offense, scoring their first three runs in the top of the first after both Jake Mangum (Mississippi State) and Justin Yurchak (Binghamton) singled to get on base and score off an error by shortstop AJ Graffanino (Washington) on a Connor Wong (Houston) grounder.
David MacKinnon (Hartford) also scored later in the inning, making two out of the three runs unearned for the Braves.
Although Dibrell gave up just two hits in the first four innings of work, the Whitecaps took him deep into counts to leave him at 94 pitches on the night.
Zach Cook (Winthrop) came in relief for Dibrell and worked 1 2-3 innings, giving up just one hit with two strikeouts.
But as of late, the Braves have had trouble holding down a lead in late innings, and tonight was no exception as the seventh inning rolled around.
Bourne tacked on two runs for themselves off sloppy fielding by the Whitecap infield. Both Mangum and Yurchak scored again off errors by the second baseman and first baseman to tally the grand total of unearned runs to four.
Yurchak had another solid night at the plate, going 3 for 4 with one walk and two runs scored.
With a comfortable 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, UNC’s Brendon Little came on in relief.
Little was unable to locate and stay low in the zone, elevating a majority of his fastballs that were rocketed around the outfield by Brewster bats.
The bottom of the eighth was a merry-go-round for the Whitecap lineup, which began with a leadoff home run by Julian Infante (Vanderbilt) that was crushed to left field.
Four singles, a double and wild pitch later, Little managed to give up the entire run production of the Brewster Whitecaps on the night, with six earned runs off eighth hits with one walk and one strikeout in 1 1-3 innings of work.
With clouds rolling in, it was clear the ninth inning would be the last in the tied 6-6 game.
Righty Zach Spangler (Kent State) came in for the final 1 2-3 innings, posting a one-hit two strikeout line to leave the Braves and Whitecaps at 6-6 for the second tie of the season for Bourne.
The Braves will fight to get back to second place-taken by Wareham in a 2-1 win against the Firebirds (15-15)- as they face division rival Hyannis Harbor Hawks, 6, Monday at Doran Park.
Probable starting pitchers are Justin Lewis (Kentucky) and Bourne’s JT Perez (Cincinnati.)