Suns hold off late rally for win
PITTSFIELD -- On a fireworks night, the Pittsfield Suns managed to keep 2,346 fans in their seats for nine innings. Those fans got to go home happy with fireworks and a win.
The Suns jumped out to a five-run lead and then held on as Wachusett brought the go-ahead run to the plate with two outs in the ninth in a 6-5 win Friday night at Wahconah Park.
The Suns pounded three Wachusett pitchers for 16 hits, including 13 off starter and loser Connor Smith. The first sun delay of the season -- it lasted eight minutes -- was recorded before the home third inning.
Every Pittsfield batter had at least one hit and four had multi-hit games. Mike Valentin Jr. had the big stick, going 4 for 5 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. He was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
"It was a team effort. We really pounded the ball," said Valentin. "At the end, it was a little shaky, but I had confidence in all the guys and I’m sure everyone had confidence in [closer Alex] Lagos to finish it up for us."
Lagos earned his second save but had a rough ninth inning. The side-arming righty gave up a run on a bases-loaded ground out by Mattingly Romanin and got Mike Corin to ground into what looked to be a game-ending out. But Jeff McGarry’s throw from third was low and the umpire ruled that first baseman Brenden Geary juggled the ball, allowing Tom Buonopane to make it 6-5. Austin Botts grounded to second to end the game.
That made a winner out of Jamin McCann. The left-hander from East Tennessee State scattered six hits in seven innings and made one bad pitch -- a fastball he left up for Joe Breen -- that resulted in a three-run home run in the sixth.
"My curveball was working pretty well tonight," said McCann. "After the sun delay, I got out of rhythm a little bit and I somehow just got through it."
McCann threw 61 strikes, wasting little time between pitches, in his 95-pitch effort. He walked one, hit a batter and got to a full count only twice.
"That’s my game plan every time I go in, that’s to work fast and try to keep them guessing," he said, "and throw strikes."
The Suns broke up a scoreless game by scoring three runs on six hits in the third and two on three hits in the fourth. Valentin got the big sixth run in the eighth on a bloop double to right. He hustled and beat the tag. Edgar Montes moved him to third on a ground out and Valentin scored on a wild pitch by reliever Sean Abbate.
Wach. 000 003 002 -- 5 9 0
Pitts. 003 200 01x -- 6 16 1
Smith (3 2/3), Mackintosh (3 1/3), Abbate (1) and Rizzitello. McCann (7), Drew (1), Lagos (1) and Reynolds. W--McCann (2-0). L--Smith (1-1). S--Lagos (2). 2B--W 1 (Rello). P 4 (Valentin Jr., Montes, McGarry, Martin). 3B--P 1 (Valentin Jr.). HR--W 1 (Breen).
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