Pittsfield Suns beat Torrington 2-1 in home opener
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PITTSFIELD -- He was so new to the Pittsfield Suns, reliever Alex Lagos didn't even have his name on the roster sheet handed out before Friday's game.
Everyone knows his name now, as the sidearming right-hander pitch ed two scoreless innings of relief and pitched out of a ninth-inning jam to give the Suns a 2-1 win over Torrington in Pittsfield's home opener.
"Looking at the board, we held them to one run. I knew I didn't have much insurance behind me," said Lagos, a converted shortstop from Bryant College. "I had to keep the ball down and get ground ball outs. That's what's good about a sidearm guy."
Pittsfield broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning when Penn's Jeff McGarry plated Mike Valentin Jr. of St. Mary's (Calif.) from third with an RBI single. That hung the loss on Torrington starter Mike Bon aiuto, who threw six innings and gave up both runs on six hits. He allowed no walks and struck out six.
Things played out as Suns manager Tom Conley had hoped. Before the game, he had wanted to get starter Jamin McCann deep into the game because the bullpen had been used extensively in the first two games.
McCann gave up a first-inning run, but quickly settled in. In seven innings of work, the left-hander from East Tenn essee State held the Titans to four hits. He walked two and struck out three.
"That was really all we could ask for," said Conley. "He had his walks every now and then, but it was good that they were scarce.
"He did a great job and then Alex came in and did a hell of a job."
At one point, McCann retired 11 consecutive Torrington batters before walking Sam Warren with two outs in the sixth.
"We're always confident in our starters, but he just threw the ball well," said Rhode Island catcher Derek Gardella, whose RBI double in the fourth inning tied the game for the Suns. "In the first inning, he gave up a run just to scare everyone. But he settled down and threw a hell of a game."
Lagos pitched a 1-2-3 eighth but ran into trouble in the ninth. Mike Oden waelder reached on an error by Pittsfield second baseman Tad Martin of South Carolina-Lancaster. Then Martin was charged with another error on a hot shot by Warren up the middle. R.J. Going sacrificed the runners up but Zach Brown grounded back to Lagos and the game ended when first baseman Brenden Geary of Maine made a great backhand stop on a grounder by Matt Batten, and Lagos covered to end the game.
"At first, I almost forgot to get over there, but then it clicked in my head ‘Get over, get over,' " said Lagos before the post-game fireworks show started. "I think it was the coaches in my past telling me to get over there."
It was a tough loss for the Titans, who had played 17 innings in a suspended game against Brockton on Thursday.
"These guys put forth a hell of an effort," Titans manager Dan McNamara said. "Coming in after a 17-inning game, this was a hard-fought game on both sides. The other side just happened to win."