By: Jacob Janower
Early runs and strong starting and relief pitching reclaimed first place for the Bourne Braves as they took down the Falmouth Commodores 4-1.
The Braves (15-13) now sit one point ahead of Cotuit in the West Division standings and earned their third consecutive head-to-head win over the Commodores.
A run in the first inning got them started and they never looked back, getting out of jams left and right as Falmouth (13-14-1) went just 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Early Offense Jolts Braves
Driving in runs was certain to be a point of focus for the Braves after they had scored only six runs in their last three games, including one in only 11 innings on Friday.
They got out to an early lead with a tally in each of the first three innings off of Commodores starter Tyler Blohm (Maryland), including two runs in the second.
“One run in the first inning is monumental,” starting pitcher Eli Kraus (Kent State) said. “To add on to that is really comforting, especially with the defense we play and how we have been hitting the ball.”
Lyle Lin (Arizona State) picked up right where he left off after a four-hit game on Saturday night with an RBI single to plate All-Star Grant Williams, who had previously doubled, for the first run of the game.
Three second inning singles, headlined by an Andrew Fregia (Sam Houston State) hit that plated a run and followed by a bases loaded walk to Scott Schreiber (Nebraska), padded the Braves advantage.
Jared Triolo (Houston) scored on a Richie Palacios (Towson) single for the fourth run of the game.
In total, the Braves tagged Blohm for seven hits in three innings.
The offense struggled the rest of the way against the Commodores’ bullpen. Triolo’s eighth inning double, his second of the game, was Bourne’s only hit in the last five frames.
Kraus Returns With a Bang
On June 22, Kraus suffered an injury that forced him to leave the team. He has since come back and made his first appearance since the injury on Saturday.
Kraus responded with just one unearned run allowed in four and 2/3 innings. He was eventually forced to leave the game due to his pitch count, which he ran up to 96 by the fifth frame.
“I was kind of in agony when I was home, just bored and I want to get back out here and start playing again,” he said. “So to be able to pitch and contribute to a win was great.”
His defense did not do him any favors either. He was forced into a bases loaded jam in the first inning after a two-out error, and back-to-back miscues in the fifth inning brought a run in to score.
The Commodores scored after an attempted force out while trying to turn a double play on a line drive.
In the days that he spent at home, Kraus eagerly prepared for a return to Bourne.
“When I went home I was still rehabbing the swollen finger,” he said. “I was doing 2-3 hours of rehab twice a day. Anywhere from ice bucket, rubber bands, some hot wax, stuff like that, just to get it back to normal.”
Stat That Mattered
All-Star Ryan Feltner (Ohio State) wriggled out of a jam in the ninth inning to extend his streak to 12 and 1/3 innings this season without allowing an earned run.
Brave of the Game
Palacios had two singles and a walk, reaching base all three times he came up to the plate.
Coming Up: The final of four games this season between the Braves and the Chatham Anglers will take place at Veterans Field at 7:00 on Sunday. Daniel Bies (Gonzaga) will make the start for Bourne.
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