NORTH ADAMS, Mass.
– Propelled by the dominant start by left-hander Scott Squier – who struck out a season-high 13 batters over 7 2/3 innings – Holyoke scored four early runs and that was all the Blue Sox would need, as North Adams fell, 4-2, on Sunday evening at Joe Wolfe Field.
Baffled by the southpaw throughout the game, the SteepleCats (15-10) struck out a season-high 15 times over the course of the night, while the Blue Sox (10-13) remained unbeaten at Joe Wolfe Field this season.
Squier (1-1) was brilliant in over seven innings of action, scattering two runs on eight hits while issuing only three walks to compliment his 13 strikeouts. His counterpart, Brian Hunter (Hartford), took the loss in a spot start after yielding four runs (three earned) on four hits over six innings, striking out a season-high eight while working around five walks during that span.
After Holyoke pulled ahead, 4-0, through three innings, Hunter and the SteepleCats bullpen put up zeroes through the remaining six frames, as Adam Sargent (Miami), Matt Longfield (Villanova) and Tom Bammann (Dowling) all contribute scoreless innings of relief to tame the visitors’ offense.
North Adams had the tying runs at second and third in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, but lefty reliever Jack Shannon came in for the four-out save and notched two strikeouts to earn his second save of the year, including the game-clinching ‘K’ to end the match.
Only two SteepleCats hitters posted two-hit nights, as Brett Clements (Nova Southeastern) extended his on-base streak to 17-straight games with a 2-for-3 night, including an RBI, while Bryan Soloman (Eastern Kentucky) finished 2-for-4 and just missed the game-tying home run with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.
Holyoke, meanwhile, saw a two-hit game from Danny Diekroeger, as the Blue Sox only mustered six hits over the course of the game.
Holyoke got some help on two SteepleCat miscues in the first, as the Blue Sox plated three runs – two earned – to take an early three-run lead. After Hunter issued back-to-back walks, Paul McConkey singled up the middle to score Chris Wooley before Connor Spencer drove in Danny Diekroeger. Before the inning ended, another run would score on an error on a pickoff attempt to run the lead to 3-0.
Following a scoreless second, the Blue Sox tacked on another run with in the third, as a one-out walk to Max Pentecost proved to be costly. The designated hitter moved from first to third on a double by Connor McKay before scoring on a groundout RBI off the bat of Joel Klock, extending the visitors’ advantage to 4-0 after three innings.
Neither side would score again from the fourth inning through the seventh before the SteepleCats finally figured out Squier in the eighth. Shane Klemcke (UT-Pan American) drew a one-out walk before Jeff Roy (URI) bunted for a single. After Squier got a huge strikeout for the second out, he yielded back-to-back RBI base hits, as Clements dropped in a run-scoring single to right before Soloman blasted a deep shot that bounced off the wall in deep right field, as both Klemcke and Roy scored to cut the lead to 4-2.
But after Shannon was summoned, he worked out of the jam by inducing a groundout in the eighth before finding himself in trouble again in the ninth. Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (Barry) reached on an infield single before pinch-hitter Will Klausing (UT-Pan American) drew a one-out walk to put the tying run on base. A groundout moved the runners into scoring position, but Shannon struck out the final batter of the game to seal the deal.
The SteepleCats round out a stretch of six games in six days with a road trip to Newport tomorrow to conclude the two sides’ regular-season series. First pitch from Cardines Field is set for 6:30 p.m.