Scrappers take 3-2 loss after late-inning collapse
Batavia, NY- Cole Sulser’s professional debut went as smoothly as Scrappers fans could hope for, but the Mahoning Valley bullpen faltered in the ninth inning and the Batavia Muckdogs walked away with a 3-2 victory.
Sulser was impressive in his first action with Mahoning Valley, throwing three scoreless innings while striking out five of the 11 batters he faced. Sulser, drafted in the 25th round of this year’s draft, is a right-handed hurler out of Dartmouth College. Though he missed the entire 2013 season following Tommy Johnsurgery, Sulser received a medical redshirt and returned to Dartmouth in 2013 for his fifth year on campus. Over his career, he compiled a 20-6 record with a 4.18 ERA, working roughly half of his appearances as a starter.
As has been the theme throughout Mahoning Valley’s young season, the bullpen pitched very well again Friday night, until Manuel Carmona entered in the ninth looking for his first save of the year. Carmona (1-1, 13.50 ERA) was rocky from the start, issuing a walk to Felix Munoz to lead off the inning. Second-BasemanAvery Romero then singled. Following a fly-out by Chad Wallach, which moved both runners into scoring position, Carmona threw a wild pitch that allowed pinch-runner Luis Ortiz to score the game-tying run. First-Baseman Carlos Lopez ended the game with a walk-off single to left field, scoring Romero.
The bullpen collectively threw six innings of three-run baseball, a so-so performance compared to the group’s early season success. Entering Friday’s contest, the bullpen had thrown 18 2/3 innings and only allowed three earned runs, good for a 1.45 ERA. Upon Sulser’s exit following the third, Matt Whitehouse threw three strong innings, allowing just one run on one hit while striking out three. Kerry Doane lasted two innings, surrendering two hits and a walk while striking out three.
At the plate for the Scrappers Claudio Bautista again led the way, gathering three hits to go along with the team’s first home run of the year. Bautista is now hitting .476 on the season with one homerun, six runs scored, and five RBI’s, leading the team in every category. Joshua McAdams, trying to gain some momentum after a slow start to the season, added two hits, including a double, and scored a run. He also tallied his second stolen base of the year. Catcher Ryan Battaglia, also looking to get hot, had two hits. Shortstop Paul Hendrix, Right-Fielder Brian Ruiz, and Designated-Hitter Manuel Boscan each added a hit.
For Batavia, Avery Romero was the only player to notch multiple hits, finishing with two on the night. Yefri Perez, Austin Dean, Carlos Lopez, and J.T. Riddle each added one. The Muckdogs sent three pitchers to the mound, all of whom pitched effectively. Starting Pitcher Max Garner stayed on for just two innings, allowing no earned runs on two hits and one walk while striking out one. Sean Donatello threw four innings, giving up one earned run on four hits. Robert Ravage notched the win for Batavia, throwing three scoreless innings.
With the loss bringing the Scrappers to 2-3 on the season, Mahoning Valley will look to win the rubber match Saturday at Dwyer Stadium. The Scrappers will be sending Luis Lugo (0-1, 1.80 ERA) to the hill. In his lone start of the year against Jamestown, Lugo went five innings, allowing one earned run on five hits while striking out two. The Muckdogs have yet to determine their Starting Pitcher. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.