Quigley hits a single

Pittsfield's Stephen Quigley, pictured in this file photo, pitched for the Suns on Sunday and forced Brockton into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. 

All season long, the Pittsfield Suns have been nothing but a gritty bunch, grinding out games to the final pitch. With their backs to the wall and the season on the line, there was no doubt they would take it to the final pitch.

Reliever Stephen Quigley, the fourth Pittsfield pitcher, got a game-ending double play with the bases loaded, as the Suns evened their best-of-three Futures League playoff series at 1 game each. The 6-5 win Sunday afternoon in Brockton assured the series of coming back to Wahconah Park for Monday night's deciding game.

First pitch Monday will be 6:30.

"I still like our chance," Pittsfield manager Matt Gedman said after Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Rox in Game 1. "It's definitely an uphill battle now, but we're still fighting."

Fighting is what the Suns did, as they rallied from an early 4-0 deficit in a game where the defense struggled. The Suns were charged with six errors.

"That's the best part about this group. They're going to fight to the end," Gedman said. "It doesn't matter how many games are left, what you're down in the series, or how many innings are left. Guys will continue to compete."

The Suns took a 6-5 lead into the ninth inning. Ryan Langford, the Futures League's relief pitcher of the year, was starting his fourth inning of work in relief of starter Kyle Roche. Langford walked Jacob Studley and gave up a hit to Ben Rounds to start the frame. That was it for Langford, and Ryan LaPierre came on.

LaPierre, the Pittsfield High School graduate caught J.P. Olson's pop up for the first out. Then Jack Murphy reached on an infield single to load the bases. Gedman came out to the mound and moved pieces on his chessboard. Quigley moved from second base to the pitcher's mound, while Cole Wojtkowski — who came on to play third base in the seventh — moved over to second. Replacing Wojtkowski at third was Taconic graduate and Columbia commit Anton Lazits. 

The next batter was Erick Ramirez, who doubled and scored a run in the second but had struck out twice and popped out in his next three at-bats. Ramirez almost won the game but his liner to left just landed foul. He hit a 3-2 pitch to Lazits at third, who quickly fired home, forcing Studley. Catcher Mike Gervasi turned and threw a strike to Jack Thorbahn at first to complete a 5-2-3 game-ending double play. 

Pittsfield's game-winning run came in the sixth when the Suns got a pair of unearned runs on two hits and a costly error. With one out, Cabot Maher singled to right, ending the day for Rox starter Dillon Ryan. Max Pierce came on to pitch and Thorbahn flied to left. With Gervasi up, Maher stole second, and Gervasi grounded to third. A throwing error charged to Nick Mistone scored Maher. A single by Nate Cormier moved Gervasi to second when reliever Max Pierce uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Gervasi to score from second. 

Pittfield had a chance to break the game open but left runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings without plating a run.

For a while, it didn't look like the Suns would score anything. Ryan, who struck out 66 in 39 2/3 innings and was 5-0 on the season, struck out the first seven Suns batters of the game. He finished up going 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on four hits and two walks, with 10 strikeouts. Only two of the five runs were earned.

Pittsfield starter Kyle Roche gave up four runs in the first two innings, but only one was earned. He settled down and put up zeroes over his final three innings, allowing the offense to put runs on the board.

In five innings, the right hander from Franklin Pierce held the Rox to four hits and one earned run in five innings. Roche walked three and struck out seven. 

The Suns had eight hits, with Jack Cooney and Maher getting two each.

———
Pittsfield   003   102   000   —   6   8   6   
Brockton   130   000   100   —   5   7   3
Roche 5, Langford 3, LaPierre 1/3, Quigley 2/3 and Gervasi. Ryan 5 1/3, Pierce 2/3, Ferrari 1, Gemma 2 and Reynolds. W — Quigley (1-0). L — Ryan (0-1). 2B — P: Thorbahn. B: Ramirez. SB — P: Blinstrub, Maher. B: Murphy. CS — P: Quigley. LOB — P 6, B 11. T — 2:54.

Howard Herman can be reached at  hherman@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6253. On Twitter: @howardherman.