BOURNE, Mass.–With playoffs in sight, the Braves (14-17-2) dropped another crucial game to second place Whareham Gatemen (16-14-2) Wednesday, losing 3-2.
With a potential rally in sight, the offense moved runners around and put the game in one run of a tie in the bottom of the ninth off a fielder’s choice by Evan Mendoza (NC State,) but were unable to produce anything and continue to stay behind the Gatemen in West standings.
LSU’s Doug Norman made his first start on the Cape and went four innings, giving up two hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Wareham scored an unearned run in third when third baseman Willy Yahn (UConn) made an errant throw to first for Gatemen runners to advance to second and third.
Wake Forest’s Gavin Sheet proceeded to hit a deep fly to right for Joey Bartosic (George Washington) to score from third for the first run of the game.
Nothing was going for the Braves’ offense until the sixth, when Gatemen starter Ryan Wilson (Pepperdine) was relieved by Nick Sprengel (San Diego) who the Braves were able to get an earned run off three hits on.
Wilson finished the night going five innings, giving up four hits with five strikeouts.
Connor Wong (Houston) led off the sixth with a ground-rule double to center for second baseman Mendoza to single in for the Braves’ first run of the night.
Braves’ pitching held the game in reach of a comeback until the eighth, when Chad Luensmann (Nebraska) came in and struggled to shutdown the hot bats of the Gatemen.
Both Sheets and BYU’s Colton Shaver singled with Sheets getting an RBI. Alex Destino (South Carolina) followed up the pair of singles with a double to score Sheets from second, Shaver was nabbed at home with a 7-6-2 putout for the second out.
But the damage was already done, as the Gatemen extended their lead to 3-1.
Luensmann finished the night going one inning, giving up one earned run with the first run of the inning going to Ronnie Rossomando (UConn,) who was relieved after three innings of work. Luensmann surrendered three hits without a walk or strikeout.
The bottom of the lineup went down in order for the Braves in the bottom of the ninth after Mendoza’s RBI fielder’s choice. Mendoza ended the night going 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
All-Star selection and Bourne third baseman Yahn had the best night out of both teams, going 3 for 4 to bump his average on the season to .277.
The Braves are one game back of third place behind the Hyannis Harbor Hawks (15-18) as they travel to Harwich (19-12-2) for a 6:30 game, Thursday at Whitehouse Field.
Probable starters are Tyler Wilson (Rhode Island) and Bourne’s AJ Moore (Kennesaw State.)