Game 9 Recap: UCLA duo drives in 6, Lunn strikes out 8 in win
WAREHAM – On a picture-perfect night from Spillane Field, the Gatemen got a picture-perfect performance from all three facets of their game, offense, defense and pitching.
“We played well on all three components of the game hitting, pitching, and defense. We fired on all cylinders. It was just a dominant game today,” manager Don Sneddon said.
The Gatemen offense exploded for nine runs on nine hits in a 9-0 rout of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks.
In the first inning, Wareham put up four runs with two outs. The Gatemen scored in the first inning in back-to-back games after they had been held scoreless in six straight games in the opening frame.
“I don’t think we’ve done that [hit with two outs] and this came up and we did it pretty darn well,” Sneddon said.
The Gatemen would go on to record six runs total with two outs in this game.
Just like last night, CF Jeremy Ydens led off the game with a double. 2B Oliver Dunn would fly out to center field and 1B Andrew Vaughn would strikeout.
LF Lael Lockhart, who went 1-4 in his Gatemen debut last night, recorded a walk to keep the inning alive. 3B Austin Shenton knocked in the first run of the day with an RBI single.
DH Drew Millas walked, setting up the bases loaded and two down.
SS Ryan Kreidler, from UCLA, stepped up to bat for his first Gatemen plate appearance. Kreidler made his presence known from the get-go as his ripped an opposite field bases clearing double to give the Gatemen a 4-0 lead.
“The pitcher throwing had an arm injury, so he was throwing a little slower than he had been to the other hitters. He threw me a couple fastballs down the middle and I was lucky put a bat on it,” Kreidler said on the Gatemen Postgame Show.
“Props to whoever [Drew Millas] was running from first right there. It wasn’t that deep, but he scored.”
Two innings later, Kreidler was back at it again. Kreidler singled to open the fourth and would steal a base and score a run in the inning. He finished the day 3-4 with three RBI, two runs scored, and the stolen base.
His UCLA teammate, Jeremy Ydens, knocked in C Michael Amditis to push the Wareham lead to 6-0. An inning later, Ydens recorded his third hit of the game which brought in two more runs, extending Wareham’s lead to 9-0. Ydens ended his night 3-4 with three RBI on his own and a run scored.
Combined, the UCLA duo went 6-8 with eight RBI, three runs, and a steal.
“The UCLA boys have really given us a shot in the arm, defensively, offensively, two out hitting, and their approach. We are pretty excited to have them here and hopefully some other guys can feed off the way they play the game,” Sneddon said.
Amid the early offensive outburst, Harbor Hawks manager Chad Gassman got ejected in the first inning after arguing over a small strike zone and an ensuing injury to his starting pitcher RHP Mike Mokma from Michigan State.
Gassman visited the mound prior to an at-bat by Kreidler. After Gassman left the mound, he immediately tried to go back out. Normally, two visits to the mound would result in the pitcher having to be removed from the game.
Gassman made a motion to his right forearm and claimed his pitcher Mokma had tightness in his arm, meaning this visit should be allowed since it was due to injury.
Home plate umpire Mike Collier did not allow Gassman to go out to the mound, but a trainer went to check on Mokma instead. After a quick visit, Mokma stayed in the game.
Kreidler’s at-bat lasted three pitches and following RBI 3-run double, another trainer went to check on Mokma. He was then pulled for the game and RHP Zach Kohn came in.
This is when Gassman got his money’s worth. Gassman came out and got in the face of Collier and began to scream and plead his case about a tight strike zone.
“The umpire had a very small strike zone and their coach and pitcher got very frustrated with that,” Sneddon said. “It was probably the tightest zone I’ve seen in the Cape.”
“Our pitchers had to make adjustments with that. We did and they didn’t.”
The Gatemen pitcher who made that adjustment was RHP Connor Lunn.
Lunn, after striking out no one in his season debut, struck out eight Harbor Hawks tonight. In the third and fifth, Lunn struck out the side in both innings. Of Lunn’s eight strikeouts, seven were of the swinging variety.
“He didn’t nibble. If he nibbled, he wouldn’t have gotten strikes. He made the adjustment to the umpire,” Sneddon said. “We can’t control the zone.”
“He had a good slider. They had to sit on that. They couldn’t just let it go and he has a sneaky enough fastball to get inside on them,” Sneddon said. “With a tighter zone to have that many strikeouts, it’s a pretty good job."
Lunn improved his record to 2-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.00.
As for defense, the Gatemen made countless web gems throughout the night. In the top of the fourth, Dunn flashed the leather and made two of the best defensive plays a Gateman has made all year.
Hyannis DH Trevor Hauver made solid contact and hit a ball ticketed for center field. Dunn took a few steps to his right, dove, got up to a knee and threw out Hauver. On the very next pitch, a ball was heading for the right center field gap when Dunn timed his leap perfectly to rob another base hit.
In the ninth, Ydens, now in right field, also got in on the defensive action made a sliding grab down the right field line.
“It’s contagious. You get up ahead like that and you hit a little bit and the defense is a lot looser,” Sneddon said.
“Give the pitcher’s credit. He’s throwing strikes, so we are not back on our heels,” Sneddon said. “If it’s a long inning, we don’t seem to make those plays. That’s the nature of baseball.”
Despite the easy win, Sneddon referred to the nature of baseball again and he knows tonight’s win is just one of 44 games.
“We can come back tomorrow and lose to them. We don’t get too excited about it,” Sneddon said.
Final: Gatemen 9, Harbor Hawks 0
Next up: The Gatemen (7-2) will play on the road Thursday night against the Bourne Braves (5-4) at Doran Park in Bourne at 6:00 p.m.