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Braves fall to Orleans in season-opening pitcher’s duel

By: Carson Field

Strikeout, flyout, groundout. Bourne’s first three at-bats of the 2019 season provided a presage of what evolved into an offensively-stagnant night for the Braves.

Much of this offensive lull was the product of elite pitching from the Orleans Firebirds’ staff. Their starter, Adam Seminaris, allowed just two hits in five innings of work.

After Seminaris exited in the sixth inning, Orleans’ relievers performed just as exceptionally. The combination of Tim Miller, Donovan Benoit and Jeffrey Praml gave up just two hits and completed the 2-0 shutout of Bourne.

Though Bourne reached base just five times, there were several promising opportunities. The bats, however, never cashed in on these chances.

“In a Cape League game, there’s usually very few opportunities to score,” manager Harvey Shapiro said. “We had a couple, and we didn’t take advantage of them.”

While the bats weren’t moving for the Braves, they stayed in the game due to their prowess on the bump.

For the most part, starter Harrison Rutkowski was reliable. He did, however, allow the only scoring play of the game in the third inning. Despite falling behind in the count, Orleans third baseman Joshua Zamora belted a two-run shot to left-center field.

Following the loss, Shapiro stressed the importance of capitalizing on favorable counts.

“Their hitters hit better against our pitchers when we had them 0-2,” Shapiro said. “When you’re ahead in the count with those pitches, you’ve got to make better location.”

Rutkowski pitched four innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs, before Wesley Tobin came in on relief duty. The combination of Tobin and Nick Iverson allowed only three hits from the fifth to eighth inning.

In addition to the bullpen’s stellar outing, the Braves were flawless in the field. Bourne committed no errors, and third baseman Zavier Warren was a standout at the corner.

“We played really clean defensively,” Warren said. “Felt pretty good to play like that.

“Now we just have to get some runs.”

The Braves’ second chance to get that first win of the season is Tuesday against Harwich. Continuing the two-game road stand, the Braves take the plate at Whitehouse Field at 6:30 p.m.