Ahead 9-2 going into the bottom of the eighth inning against Westfield, the Bristol Bluesâ€™ bullpen and defense blew another late lead and spoiled another fine performance from their starting pitcher in a 10-9 walk-off loss Saturday night.
A two-run triple from Griffin Schneider in the eighth gave the Blues what looked like a safe, comfortable seven-run cushion and set up Arjun Thakar for the victory after the right-hander was terrific in giving up two runs on just five hits with 12 strikeouts and a walk in seven innings.
But the Starfires (4-6) started a rally off reliever Tim Pfaffenbichler, who allowed three earned runs without recording an out. An error by Pfaffenbichler let the first run cross, and Sean Moorhouse followed with a two-run single to chase Pfaffenbichler and bring on Dominic Niman.
Niman recorded three straight outs to limit the damage. In the ninth, however, Niman walked leadoff hitter Elijah Dale, and Angelo Dacunto reached first on an error.
Sean Muprhy then roped a two-run double, and Andrew Selima followed with an RBI single to cut Westfieldâ€™s deficit to 9-8 with no outs.
Tommy Hughes took the loss after he relieved Niman and struck out Jermiah Vargas before walking Moorhouse. A wild pitch put the game-tying and game-winning runs in scoring position, and Thomas Joyce tied the game on a sacrifice fly.
On a full count, Anthony Clark then drove in the game-winning run on a walk-off single to score Moorhouse from third.
It was the third straight loss for the Blues (3-6), whose bullpen took the loss for the third straight night.
Austin White (3-for-5, two RBI, two runs with a walk and his seventh stolen base) continued his strong start to the season, and Zeke Diamond (3-for-5, two runs) also helped pace the offense. Brandon Miller and Kasey Bass each tallied two hits and two RBI, and Christian Beal and Brogan Searle-Belanger each had a pair of hits as part of 16 knocks for Bristol.