Despite the looming rain that showered over Newport on Monday, the Newport Gulls were able to defeat the Plymouth Pilgrims, 7-2, in front of 320 fans at Cardines Field. The Gulls secured seven runs on seven hits, while the Gulls pitching staff combined to strike out 11 Pilgrims hitters.
For the fourth time in the last five games, the Gulls struck first with a run in the first inning. After Tanner Donnels skied a double that moved Shea Donlin to third base, Tyler Green drove in his sixth run of the season by driving in Donlin with an RBI groundout. The Gulls would load the bases, but a Ryan Tufts fly out left them stranded. At the end of the first inning, the Gulls led the Pilgrims, 1-0.
The Gulls continued their offensive surge in the bottom of the second. Facing 2013 NECBL All-Star Kurt Sowa, the Gulls were able to score two runs in the inning. Reed Gamache contributed an RBI single, while Donnels drove in Donlin with an RBI groundout to the pitcher.
Mike Mancuso made his first start of the season with the Gulls in the contest. The junior from the University of Georgia went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with six strikeouts on the night.
However, the Pilgrims did bounce back in the top of the third, when Josh Ake lofted his first home run of the summer over the left field fence, putting the Pilgrims on the scoreboard. The Pilgrims managed to get two more base runners, but Mancuso was able to escape the jam with the Gulls still leading, 3-1.
In the fourth inning, Plymouth outfielder Brent Rooker hit his first home run of the season, blasting a shot into the streets in right field. However, Mancuso did manage to strike out two hitters, and the Gulls kept the game close with a 3-2 score.
After Mancuso’s outing came to a close with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, southpaw Marc Huberman came into the game for the Gulls. Facing defending NECBL Player of the Week Vincent Guglietti, Huberman struck him out on six pitches, preventing the Pilgrims from doing any damage in the inning.
Newport continued to swing the bat well, hitting many deep shots off the walls of Cardines Field. After Nick Zammarelli skied a shot high off the right field wall, the Gulls had runners on second and third. Even though Zammarelli was tagged out at home plate by Pilgrims catcher Matt Walsh, Gulls catcher P.J. Jones drove in Colby Wright with an RBI double. When the dust settled, the Gulls led the Pilgrims, 4-2.
While trying to intentionally walk Tyler Green, Pilgrims reliever Nick Schavone threw a high pitch that got away from Walsh on ball four. Donlin seized the opportunity, scoring from third base and giving the Gulls a 5-2 lead.
Huberman continued to pitch well in relief, keeping the Pilgrims bats at bay during his 4 1/3 innings of work. During his outing, the southpaw from the University of Southern California struck out five hitters, and only allowed two hits and a walk.
In the eighth, Gamache launched a shot down the right field line, getting it past the dive of Rooker. Donlin scored, while Gamache slid into third with a triple. Gamache eventually scored on a groundout by Donnels, giving the Gulls a 7-2 lead.
With the victory, the Gulls were able to win their third straight NECBL game. With Ocean State’s game with Keene rained out, the Gulls were able to take sole possession of first place in the NECBL Southern Division for the first time in 2014.
The Newport Gulls will now travel to Rogers Park to face the Danbury Westerners in a Southern Division contest. Southpaw Chandler Hawkins (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will get the start for the Gulls on Tuesday. Also, Newport Gulls Media Relations Coordinator Tim Scott will fill in for Newport Gulls broadcaster Nick Lima tomorrow, with first pitch taking place at 6:30.