By: Zach Pekale
Leading by three runs in the seventh inning, the Bourne Braves had momentum on their side and were seven outs away from a third straight victory.
That is, until a dropped strike three gave way to the Orleans Firebirds scoring five runs in the bottom half of the frame, leading to a 7-6 win over the Braves.
With two outs and an 0-2 count, Orleans’ Justin Lavey (Louisville) advanced to first base after Cooper Johnson (Mississippi) couldn’t hang on to a pitch from Nick Morreale (Georgetown) that would’ve ended the inning.
Instead, Orleans put four consecutive runners on base while taking advantage of errors by Oscar Serratos (Georgia Tech) and Spencer Brickhouse (East Carolina) to extend the inning.
“I think we just lost focus with two outs where you just expected to get that third out. We didn’t make the plays we needed to,” Serratos said.
Offensively, the bats of Bourne remained hot. Tyler Fitzgerald (Louisville) led the way with three runs batted in addition to Jared Triolo (Houston) hitting his third home run of the summer. Both Fitzgerald and Triolo have hit safely in the past six games.
“I’m just getting my pitches, finding holes. I mean I found a good one today, let’s try to keep it rolling,” Triolo said.
On the mound, Braves’ starter Harrison Rutkowski (Rutgers) appeared in a game for the first time since June 16 and looked much more comfortable in his second start with Bourne. One of just two southpaws on the pitching roster, Rutkowski struck out five and allowed four hits in six innings, giving up two earned runs.
“I definitely got ahead early, which is good. The one time I didn’t get ahead I gave up a home run,” Rutkowski said. “Just throwing a couple strikes, getting them down the plate felt pretty good.”
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