Cotuit, MA- The Cotuit Kettleers’ offense came up with big hit after big hit to persevere over the Wareham Gatemen in a 12-5 win. With the game tied, the Kettleers produced a seven-run frame to put the Gatemen away. Head coach Mike Roberts was ecstatic with his team’s ability to fight and grind out a win. Roberts said, “All I can say is ‘thank you’ to the guys. There is a lot of fight in this group. They did a fantastic job of coming back time and time again. It was a very good win for us.”
Moments that mattered:
Cotuit’s two-out rally plates two in the first
The Kettleers looked like they would go scoreless in the first as Ryan Ritter (Kentucky) stepped to the plate with none on and two gone. Ritter started a two-out rally with an infield single, which extended his hit streak to seven games. Eric Brown Jr. (Coastal Carolina) put two men on with a line drive single into center. Brown swiped his 11th bag of the season, a team high, to put two runners in scoring position. Noah Bridges (UNC Wilmington) made it three straight singles with a two-run knock just out of the reach of a diving first baseman. It was the second time in the last three games that Bridges has come through with a two-out, multi-run hit.
Bridges has been one of the Kettleers’ main producers in big moments lately. The outfielder believes his timely hits are coming from the work he’s been putting in off the field. Bridges said, “I’ve been working really hard. Coach Roberts has been helping me out with my swing. It’s just the work I’ve been putting in that’s been showing up. Getting up with runners on in those situations, that’s where I want to be.”
Mathews dominates Gatemen for six innings of one-run ball
Quinn Mathews (Stanford) has been the Kettleers’ most consistent arm since arriving on the Cape in early July. Mathews made his fourth start of the summer and is yet to allow more than one earned run in an appearance. Mathews came out firing with a 1-2-3 first on 12 pitches. In the third inning, the southpaw stranded two runners in scoring position with a fly-out to left. He limited Wareham damage to one in the fourth as he stranded two more Gatemen. The Stanford product retired seven of the last eight batters he faced and finished his day with his sixth strikeout to end the sixth inning.
Mathews attributed his summer success to a slider he’s recently added to his arsenal. The lefty said, “I’ve actually found a slider out here so I have a third pitch now which has been big for me against left-handed hitters. I’m flipping it in there for strikes and then I had it as a wipeout pitch when I needed it.”
Gatemen and Kettleers trade two-run frames in the seventh
Mathews’ day ended after six complete innings, a sight for sore eyes in the Wareham dugout. Wareham’s Jack Brannigan led off the seventh with a triple and was brought in on an E5. A single and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. A sac-fly knotted the game at three. Trevor Kuncl (George Washington) entered the game with two on and one out. Kuncl swung the momentum back in Cotuit’s favor with a strikeout and a pop out to strand two.
The Ritter-Brown combination quickly put the Kettleers back on top. Ritter lined a ball into the right field corner and sped around the bases for a one-out triple. Brown put a bunt down on the first pitch he saw to score Ritter and take the lead back.
‘Big-hit Bridges’ doubled the Cotuit lead just two pitches later. The left-handed hitter sent a no-doubt HR, his first of the summer, into the trees over the right-field fence to put Cotuit up 5-3.
“EBJ (Eric Brown Jr.) got the sac down and did his job to score the run. I got in with bases empty and was looking for a pitch to crush to get something else going. Luckily I got that pitch and caught a barrel,” said Bridges.
Wareham ties game again, Cotuit responds with seven-run frame
The Gatemen had an immediate response of their own in the eighth. A one-out single and a walk put two on for Kade Kern, who drove in a run with a single of his own. After a pitching change, Wareham’s third single of the inning tied the game at five. Zach Fruit (Eastern Michigan) kept the game knotted at five with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Kettleers got the go-ahead run on base as Matthew Donlan (UConn) reached base on a hit-by-pitch. Donlan, who reached base in all four of his plate appearances, was pinch ran for by Eldridge Figueroa (Arkansas Little Rock). Figueroa’s speed off the bench was game-changing. The Little Rock product made it from corner-to-corner on a Jace Grady (Dallas Baptist) single. He then beat out a throw to home on a bunt to put the lead back in Cotuit’s favor.
On Figueroa’s base-running, Roberts said, “It was huge. That’s why you always need a pinch runner on the bench. Eldridge not only runs great, he’s also smart. He didn’t have to come to third base on that single. A lot of guys would have stopped, but him getting to third was huge.”
Two more Cotuit runs came across the plate on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch. Bridges extended the lead to four with his fourth RBI on a sacrifice fly. Brett Roberts (Florida State) got into the RBI column with a two-out single. Nathan Martorella (California) capped off the seven-run frame with a two-run home run, his first of the season.
The first baseman was all smiles after his first home run, not just because of his accomplishments, but because of the Kettleers’ offense starting to heat up at the right time. Martorella said, “It felt good man. Just been pushing, kept plugging away, and trying to get hard contact. It felt good to see one fly over the fence. This team just never gives up. We got a good team with a lot of good bats in this line-up. I think we’re all just starting to play to our potential.”
Mathews: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 R
Bridges: 2-3, BB, HR, 4 RBI
Ritter: 2-2, 3 R, 3 BB, 3B
Roberts: 2-3, RBI, 1 R, 1 BB
Donlan: 3-3, BB, RBI
Brown: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI
Grady: 2-4, R, BB
Martorella: 1-5, HR, 2 RBI
Up next: The Kettleers will hit the road on Saturday to travel to Falmouth. Cotuit is 2-1 vs. the Commodores this season. First pitch will be at 6:00 PM from Guv Fuller Field.