BRISTOL - An early deficit ended up sinking the Bristol Blues on Sunday evening, as the Brockton Rox emerged victorious at Muzzy Field by a score of 5-1.
“One run,” Blue manager Pat Riley said with a sigh. “Didn’t get any big hits with guys on base. They knocked our pitchers around a little bit. They had 13 hits.”
The Rox took an early 3-0 lead by scoring one run in each of the game’s first three innings. Chris Berry, Anthony George and Trent Turner each picked up an RBI.
The Blues managed only three hits through the first three innings and could not push a runner across home plate.
The fourth inning brought the first empty frame for the Rox, thanks to a four-batter inning from Blues starter Brandon Fox.
“Lately, our pitchers have kept us in the game but bats got to come around sooner or later, hopefully,” Riley said. “Yeah, we’re managing the eight to 10 hits but we’re not getting guys in. Lot of singles. Not a lot of extra-base hits.”
The Blues looked to reward their pitcher in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with one out. A run was driven in when James Brown took a wild pitch on strike three with two outs. Brown reached first safely and Austin Chauvin did the same at home to give Bristol its first run of the game.
But the rally did not last, with Chris Villa getting fanned on the next at-bat.
The next three full innings went scoreless, with both teams combining to use five pitchers over that span.
Brockton broke the scoreless streak, scoring a run on a one-out double by Eric Feliz to retake a three-run lead. Feliz then scored on a single hit deep to right field by Berry to take a 5-1 lead. Nick Silva then put an end to the inning, getting Trent Turner to strike out and Ben Porter to ground into a 5-4 put-out of Berry.
After falling further behind, the Blues could not respond in the bottom of the eighth despite Frankie Gregoire drawing a one-out walk and Chris Morris following it with a single.
“It’s just upsetting,” Blues shortstop Tyler Roberts said. “We’re getting guys on base. We need to focus on getting them over and getting them in. We’ve been struggling at the plate right now and it’s kind of gotten to that mid-season grind.” We’ve just got to focus on keeping at it, keeping a smart approach, swinging at good pitches and the hits will fall and we’ll start getting those hits in.”
Facing a four-run deficit, the Blues handed the ball off to Mike Munson in the top of the ninth. Munson rewarded the Blues, striking out the side in the top of the ninth and only allowing a single that did no damage.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Blues got two base runners on but could not bat them in to chip away at the Brockton lead.
The Blues now have two days off in a row before returning to action on Wednesday at home versus the Wachusett Dirt Dawgs.
“When you get the days off, you kind of have to give it to them,” Riley said. “They’re college kids in the summer. Give them a little break and, a lot of times, hopefully for us, it’ll benefit us.”
Josh Kestenbaum can be reached at (860) 973-1811 firstname.lastname@example.org