BRISTOL - In his first start for the Bristol Blues this summer, each time left-hander Matt Shane got into a jam Monday night, he got himself out of trouble with timely strikeouts.
Shane picked up five strikeouts, most of them stranding Nashua runners in scoring position, leading the Blues to an 8-2 victory by allowing just one earned run on five hits and one walk in five innings against the Silver Knights at Muzzy Field.
“I dug myself some holes, but I was able to get out of it so that’s just baseball for you. Some days the ball goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t,” said Shane, who led his red-hot club to its ninth win in its last 10 games. “Whenever I get my name called, I just go out there and do whatever I can to help the team win.”
After surrendering an RBI single in the top of the first, Shane rang up two consecutive swinging strikeouts on curveballs to strand two runners. Following Shane’s second punch out on a dropped third strike, the runners advanced to second and third, but Shane dropped in another curve for his third strikeout of the frame.
Austin White then led off the bottom half with his 30th hit of the season, stole second base and scored his league-leading 25th run on Brandon Miller’s RBI single pulled to right field for a 1-1 tie.
J.T. Mounce gave the Blues (14-11) the lead for good with an RBI groundout in the second, and Shane again avoided trouble by stranding runners on the corners with his fourth strikeout in the next half-frame.
Following Shane’s 1-2-3 fourth inning, he again stranded two runners, this time at first and second, with a strikeout and inducing a groundout.
The Blues offense then gave Shane enough room to pick up the victory in the bottom of the fifth, as Miller parlayed a single into his second stolen base of the night and was brought home on Buddy Dewaine’s single. Dylan Reynolds roped an RBI double to score Dewaine, and in the next half-frame, Reynolds at first base made the night’s top defensive play.
With no outs and runners on first and second against reliever Spencer Fox, Nashua’s Jack Arend sent a low, sinking pop fly down the first-base line into foul territory, where Reynolds laid out to make a diving, over-the-shoulder catch.
Moments later, catcher Will Reiner connected with Reynolds on a pickoff throw for the second out, and Fox surrendered an RBI single to Connor Blandini before ending the inning with a long fly out by Dylan Jones.
In the seventh, the Silver Knights (12-15) surrendered four runs with the bases loaded on Kyle Maves’ infield single, Will Reiner being hit by a pitch and walks drawn by Brogan Searle-Belanger and Mounce.
Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or email@example.com