Suns walk off with fourth consecutive victory
PITTSFIELD -- Dan Palazzo spent much of his night in the Pittsfield Suns bullpen. But when called upon, he delivered.
Palazzo’s two-out RBI single scored pinch-runner Luke Reynolds from second base to give the Pittsfield Suns a 2-1 win over the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks on Thursday night.
"It’s a good win," said the catcher from Bryant. "Jamin [McCann] threw the ball well. We were just able to get it done at the end."
After starting the season 1-2, the Suns have now rattled off four straight wins and are a game behind West Division leader Worcester.
The Suns scored a run in the first inning and then were shut out until getting that tally in the ninth. They stranded four runners in the first two innings and then left one on base in innings 3-8.
"I thought, and I told these guys, that we fell asleep a little bit in the middle innings," Suns manager Tom Conley said. "We put one up early and we rested on that. We knew Jamin was going to come in and throw zeroes and we rested on that.
"We’ll take the win any way we can."
Nate Spielvogel, the third Suns pitcher, got the win after tossing 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and only allowed Brian Campbell to reach base safely -- on an error by shortstop Dan Cellucci -- in the ninth.
Pittsfield’s ninth inning started badly for the Suns when Jeff McGarry struck out. McGarry was 0 for 4, ending his five-game hitting streak. Derek Gardella also struck out, but the ball got away from Sharks’ catcher Jon Mayer. Mayer tried to throw Gardella out but hit the Suns’ catcher with the throw and Gardella ended up on second base.
Martha’s Vineyard manager John Toffey came out to debate the call, but after consulting, home plate umpire Graham Soltys confirmed the call.
Reynolds came on to run for Gardella and after going 2-0 on pinch-hitter Brenden Geary, reliever Matt Binder issued an intentional walk. Cellucci flied to left and then Palazzo, batting for Dan Donohue, hit a 1-1 pitch into the wet grass in left field. Brian Campbell came up throwing, but Reynolds easily beat the throw home.
"I was just looking for a fastball," said Palazzo. "I hadn’t seen a pitch the whole game. I was warming up a guy in the bullpen. I saw a pitch over the plate and was able to hit a ball in the hole."
An infield single by Gardella scored Mike Valentin Jr. from third with the Suns’ first-inning run. The Sharks got their run thanks to a hit batter and a throwing error that scored Ryan Kelly from second.
McCann scattered three hits and two walks in five frames, striking out five and lowering his earned-run average to 1.80.
Lenox’s Austin Salnitis gave up an infield single and hit two batters in two-thirds of an inning in the seventh. Speilvogel’s stellar relief work took Salnitis off the hook. It is Speilvogel’s first win of the season.
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