Suns break seventh-inning tie, beat Titans 7-5 at Wahconah Park
PITTSFIELD -- With more than 2,000 schoolchildren in attendance, the Pittsfield Suns players didn't want to disappoint them. They didn't.
Steve Dill's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a tie and reliever Perry Kulaga pitched three scoreless innings for his first Futures League win as the Suns came back to beat the Torrington Titans 7-5 on Tuesday morning.
"The atmosphere was great here. I love it," said Kulaga, a right-handed reliever from Merrimack College. "Good defense, a good crowd. [The kids] are cheering non-stop loud all the time. Playing for them, it's great."
After starting 1-3, the Suns have now won two games in a row, and they continued their streak in front of students from Pittsfield's elementary schools.
Tad Martin's RBI groundout in the sixth inning scored Dan Donohue with the run that tied the game 5-5. In the seventh, reliever Kevin Connolly hit Jeff McGarry and Zach Tower with consecutive pitches. Connolly had throw two innings of scoreless relief in Pittsfield's 2-1 win over Torrington on Friday.
Dill was the next batter and he hit a 2-0 pitch the other way between the first and second basemen to score McGarry with the go-ahead run.
"He was pitching me away the whole at-bat so I knew he was going to stay away," said the catcher from Harvard. "I just wanted to hit something hard to the right side to get that run in."
Donohue, a shortstop from Salve Regina who went 2 for 4, made it 7-5 when he blooped a single over the head of Torrington shortstop Matthew Batten. That scored Tower with the insurance run.
In the eighth, Kulaga hit Langston Calhoun with a one-out pitch and then got Nick DeLotto to ground into an inning-ending double play. Then in the ninth, Kulaga retired the side in order to end the game and get the win.
"I just wanted to get ahead [in the count], and let my defense do the work. They won it," he said.
For five innings, Suns starter Phil Reese was very good. The right-hander from Holy Cross gave up two runs on four hits, but ran into problems in the sixth.
Reese gave up a leadoff home run to Jack St. Clair that cleared the fence behind the bullpens in left field, the first of three runs scored by the Titans that gave the visitors a 5-4 lead at that point. Reese gave way to Kulaga with one out in the sixth.
"He really wanted to stay in, but I wanted to bring a fresh guy in," Suns manager Tom Conley said. "Perry works quick and throws a lot of strikes. The last two times out, he's done that."
Pittsfield broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the third inning. McGarry, who was 3 for 3 with two runs batted in and two runs scored, hit a two-run single and Tower followed with a two-run double that one-hopped the wall in center field.
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