By: Zach Pekale
When starting pitcher Harrison Rutkowski (Rutgers) was pulled after just 2.2 innings, things were looking grim for the Bourne Braves.
Rutkowski allowed three earned runs on four hits and two walks as the Cotuit Kettleers nearly batted around in the third inning.
It wasn’t until an initially harmless catcher interference call on Cotuit culminated with the Braves scoring three runs in the fifth to knock off the Kettleers 9-3.
Trailing 3-1, Johnson reached with two outs in the frame, followed by a single from Anthony Prato (Connecticut) before Chase Murray (Georgia Tech) tied the game with a two-run double.
Three pitches later, Jared Triolo gave the Braves their first lead with an RBI single that plated Murray.
“Someone told me to take the first pitch … I took the first one, slider. The next pitch I knew I caught his glove,” Johnson said. “I got on base, Prato gets a single and Chase [Murray] hits a ball to the wall. The wheels came off the bus … It’s crazy all what happened after that with two outs.”
As the game progressed, the offense of Cotuit sputtered behind another strong performance from the Braves’ bullpen.
Utilizing five relief pitchers, Bourne allowed three hits and two walks over the final 6.1 innings.
Pitching coach Keith Bilodeau cited preparation as a cause for the unit’s recent success.
“They’re coming in day in, day out just getting their early work in knowing that they could be up for that day.” Bilodeau said. “There’s no doubt about it, the discipline in the bullpen has gotten a lot better over the past few days.”
At the forefront of the attack was Andy Archer (Georgia Tech), who earned the victory after allowing one hit and striking out three in two scoreless innings.
“I had all three pitches going, fastball, changeup and my curveball,” Archer said. “I’ve been back home working on my curveball and it felt really good to come up here in this league, throw it for strikes and actually get a strikeout on it.”
While Cotuit was unable to generate runs late in Monday’s contest, the Braves coincidingly scored at least one run in each of the last four frames.
Thad Phillips (Connecticut) led the offensive charge as he took his first reps of the summer as a designated hitter.
The result was Phillips’ best performance at the plate. He registered a game-high three runs batted in as part of a 2-for-4 night.
Player of the Game
Mike Ruff (Florida Atlantic) – Ruff came on in relief for Rutkowski with runners on the corners in the top of the third.
After stranding the Kettleers in his first inning of work, Ruff worked himself into a bases loaded jam in the fourth but was able to diffuse the threat.
Coming Up: The Braves are off on Tuesday before returning to Doran Park for their fifth matchup with the Falmouth Commodores.