By Mac Friday
(Photo: Braden Reed/Bourne Braves)
After he was bounced against Falmouth through two innings of work and two earned runs with some errors mixed in, Braves starter Anthony Arguelles had to go back to the drawing board. The Miami Hurricane turned Virginia Tech Hokie needed to revisit what it was like to start a baseball game instead of coming out of the bullpen, something he hadn’t done in over a year dating back to last summer.
“It was a mentality standpoint,” Arguelles said. “It had been a while, over a year, since I started a game and I was focused on the wrong things. I was trying to see how deep I could go into the game instead of worrying about the first three outs, the first at-bat, or getting guys out to keep myself going.”
“Today was different intent. I went up there and gave it everything I had for as long as I had and just had to see how far it got me.”
Arguelles certainly made a difference, twirling four innings of one-run ball while allowing three hits, three walks and seven strikeouts en route to a 6-3 Braves victory Thursday night at Doran Park.
“He’s new to starting and he did some things at Falmouth that we didn’t think was very good for his preparation,” Landers said. “He understood that and it was much different today and he came out a lot different.”
With Arguelles rock-solid on the bump through the early stages, the Braves offense took the chance to capitalize, scoring early. First baseman Chris Brito led off the second inning with a scorching double into the gap. Brito would later be brought home on an RBI single up the middle by third baseman Wyatt Henseler.
In the fourth, Brito walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Right fielder Carson Jones then hit his own double into the gap in right-center to score the big man from Rutgers for the second time on the night.
“If other teams aren’t expecting me to run, that’s when I want to run more,” Brito told Braves sideline reporter Ethan Frank. “If they aren’t on me at all times, that’s when I’m going to take a base and be on second so my teammates can bring me in. That’s what Wyatt and Carson did today.”
The Gatemen then struck back in the fifth against righty Cameron Bye quickly, as catcher Ryan Campos hit an RBI double turned into a triple after an error at third by Henseler. Campos then scored on a wild pitch that was mishandled at the plate by Bye, tying the game at two runs apiece.
Center fielder Chase Davis put a bow on the three-run fifth with an RBI single up the middle to give the Gatemen their first lead of the contest.
The Braves responded in the sixth, but didn’t have to do much with the bats. Gatemen reliever Will Koger III faltered, allowing a leadoff single and three straight walks before hitting designated hitter Josh Moylan, bringing in center fielder Mac Horvath and second baseman Matt Shaw in on free passes.
The Braves continued their hot streak into the seventh against righty Niko Mazza. Right fielder Ryan Enos reached on a hit-by-pitch, then Horvath reached on a walk. After Horvath stole second and Enos third on a double steal, Shaw scorched a sac fly to left to score Enos, before Brito hit and RBI single to score Enos.
Even with the three-run advantage, the Braves stranded eight runners in scoring position, leaving much more to be desired.
“We swung the bats pretty good tonight,” Landers said. “We left some guys in scoring position and we had chances to really break it open and we didn’t.”
It was also a quintessential night of baseball at Doran Park, as the Braves only recorded two extra base hits, mostly gappers instead of long balls at a ballpark notorious for being hard to hit the ball far.
“It was a really sticky night,” Braves manager Scott Landers said. “When it’s humid like this, the ball does not travel like it usually does, even with the wind blowing.”
After Bye’s appearance, the Braves bullpen shut everything down with solid outings by righties Matt Duffy and Ty Cummings. Duffy twirled three innings of one-hit ball in his first appearance at home with Bourne. Cummings allowed the tying run to come to the plate in the ninth, but buckled down and got out of the jam.
Thursday night’s win was the second win this week against the Gatemen, and with three ties earlier in the season and one game to play between the two teams, the Braves took the season series.
Bourne is back in action for its final game of this four-game homestand and final contest before the All-Star break. First pitch is at 6:00 p.m