By: Carson Field
Jud Fabian has a new nickname: Kettleer Killer. Or at least he should.
Fabian — a Florida outfielder — crushed a solo home run to left field in the eighth inning, clinching Bourne its second win in a row. This was his second hit of the game and the Braves’ first run since the second inning.
“He threw me a fastball, up in the middle, and I like those pitches,” Fabian said. “It’s an awesome feeling to help your team win a game.”
In four games against Cotuit, Fabian is now batting .333 with three home runs and five RBIs. To put this into perspective, Fabian has one roundtripper and three RBIs combined against anybody else.
But Monday’s win wasn’t a one-man show; it wouldn’t have been possible without the precision on the mound.
Out of the gates, starting pitcher Mac Lardner ran into trouble. He gave up back-to-back home runs in his first two batters faced.
Pitching coach Ace Adams thinks the 45-minute umpire delay may have contributed to these early mishaps.
“I think it affected him a little bit,” Adams said. “He warmed up and then sat for like 15 minutes, and I think it got him a little antsy.
“He wasn’t in the normal program that he’s used to being in.”
Lardner, however, rebounded quickly. After that forgettable first inning, he threw five scoreless innings and earned a quality start.
Entering the game with the league’s best ERA of qualified pitchers at 0.82, Lardner’s turnaround helped keep his stats and the game in check. Because of this, Lardner’s ERA just fell to 1.29.
“I just needed to settle in,” Lardner said. “I just needed to go back to being myself. Luckily, I did that and helped us get the win.”
In relief, Lardner’s counterparts were just as efficient. Jared Poland and Kieran Shaw closed the game with three scoreless innings in which they allowed just one hit. Shaw, who pitched a hitless ninth inning, earned his third save of the year and capped off Bourne’s 3-2 victory.
Bourne is now 12-16 and five points behind third-place Falmouth. On the other hand, the Braves now hold an 11-point lead over Hyannis, and their magic number — in terms of points — is 20.
Winners of six of their last 11, the Braves have developed a stronger team chemistry as the season has progressed.
“We’ve figured each other out now,” Lardner said. “And now we’re playing every day and don’t have to deal with the weather, so that has helped out a lot.”