BRISTOL - Unlike the previous seven meetings between the Bristol Blues and the Pittsfield Suns this year, Tuesday night’s matchup was a pitching duel and Bristol starter Casey Elbin made sure the Blues came away with a win.
Elbin pitched six one-hit innings and struck out four Suns batters as Bristol defeated Pittsfield 4-1.
“I was using my fastball to get ahead early and then relying on what Pat [Winkel] was calling,” Elbin said. “He called a great game.”
Giacomo Brancato and Pat Winkel drove in the first two runs of the game for Bristol.
In the bottom of the fifth inning Brancato had a RBI on a groundout scoring Cooper Mrowka from third. Then in the sixth inning Winkel hit a sacrifice fly to score Richard Brereton.
Hitting in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, Brereton and Winkel provided three of the five Bristol hits in the evening.
Winkel drove in three runs on a 1-for-3 night against the Suns left-hander Brian Johnson.
The other two RBI for Winkel came off an RBI single to score Teddy and Andy Hague.
“Being a lefty it was hard to hit him, but after a few at bats you get used to it,” Winkel said. “That at bat when I hit the sac fly I went down 2-2 and I knew I had to just get something in the air to the outfield so I was just trying to play smart baseball and not do too much.”
Brereton finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk and scored one run. With the performance he raised his batting average to .309.
“Casey did a great job today, he definitely put us in a position to win so our lineup could do what we do,” Brereton said. “And we were confident in Casey to keep it close so we were able to put some good at bats together and take the lead.”
In the top of the seventh inning Zach Dionne was struggling on the mound and Blues manager Ronnie Palmer made the move to the bullpen to bring on Neal McDermott, the team’s primary closer.
McDermott got Bristol out of the jam in the seventh to limit Pittsfield to one run and went on to finish the rest of the game for the Blues.
“I was just taking it one pitch at a time,” McDermott said. “Casey had a great start and you want to work for him knowing that he just pitched his butt off so just going in and thinking positive on the mound taking it one pitch at a time to try and get out of the inning.”
McDermott went 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball and struck out four.
Mrowka and Andy Hague each had a hit for Bristol.
The Blues will host the North Shore Navigators for a July 4 night game at 7 p.m. Jake Regula is slated to be on the mound starting for Bristol.