Big first inning lifts Pittsfield Suns to 5-1 win over Torrington
PITTSFIELD -- For the first time since late June, the Pittsfield Suns have won two consecutive games.
The Suns scored four times in the bottom of the first inning and let starter Harrison Paige and two relievers do the rest in a 5-1 win over Torrington on Thursday night at Wahconah Park.
Paige gave up a first-inning run, but shut the Titans down the rest of the way. Relievers Tom Hackimer and Adam Whitt closed it out for the Suns, with Whitt getting his fourth save.
"It feels great, especially to win one of them here and get rolling at home," said Suns shortstop John Kinne, who led the offense, going 2 for 3 with two runs batted in. "It's good to play well in front of the home crowd."
The last time the Suns won back-to-back games came on June 26, when they beat Brockton at Wahconah Park and then beat North Shore in the first game of a doubleheader in Lynn on June 28.
"We have a tough team on the road [tonight] in North Shore," said Suns manager Tom Conley. "It would be nice to get three wins in a row. I don't think we've done that all year.
"Right now [two wins] feels really good."
Paige gave up a run on a base hit, a stolen base and two ground outs in the top of the first inning, and once again, the Suns found themselves down early. On Thursday, they came right back.
Frank Crinella, who finished 2 for 5, singled to center to start the game. Ryan Olmo grounded to second, but Torrington second baseman Casey Jones was charged with an error on the throw to get Crinella. Steve Dill singled to load the bases and a walk to Kyle Singleton forced in Crinella with the first run.
Brendan Slattery's one-out infield single made it 2-0 and Bo Slemons brought home a run with a ground out. Kinne closed out the scoring by beating out a grounder to third for an RBI base hit.
"We've had a tough time in the first inning, but luckily we battled back in the bottom half," said Kinne. "We kind of rode that momentum and flipped the script on what's been happening."
After a 21-minute sun delay, Torrington starter Mike Gibbons became as effective as Paige. Gibbons threw four shutout innings and gave up only two hits. But the damage was done.
Paige allowed only one run on three hits in six innings, walking one and striking out one.
"Dill did a good job behind the plate," said the American International College right-hander. "He sets up real well and sets up a good target for me.
"As the game went on, the fastball was good enough to record outs."
Tom Hackimer pitched out of a self-inflicted jam in the seventh and Whitt held the Titans scoreless with a runner in scoring position in the eighth. The Suns closer struck out Bob Seda swinging to end the game and earn the save.
"Their pitchers were very effective," Torrington catcher Conor Fitzsimmons said. "Their first guy [Paige], he was pretty unhittable. His ball was biting and missing our barrel."
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