NEW BRITAIN - From the very beginning it just wasn’t the New Britain Bees’ night.
After rain pushed back the start of their series against the Lancaster Barnstormers to Wednesday night, the Bees came out flat, played from behind and fell 5-1.
“Rain sometimes early in the season with a day off kind of breaks your momentum a little bit. I saw some of that today,” Bees manager Stan Cliburn said. “Not that we hadn’t been getting our work done, we just need to get on the field. Weather plays a factor early in the season like this.”
New Britain starting pitcher Anthony Marzi had a season debut he probably would have liked back. The Berlin native lasted just three innings and was charged with four runs, all of which came in the first inning.
“It was good to be back out there. I left a few too many pitches out over the zone in that first inning and they hit it pretty well,” Marzi said. “The approach was the same throughout those three innings, attack with the fastball pitch one to get ahead and they did a good job hitting it.”
After Lancaster’s Trayvon Robinson led the game off with a single and Caleb Gindl followed with a walk, the Barnstormers used back-to-back-to-back hits to left field to make it a long inning for Marzi (0-1).
With one out, Sean Halton doubled to bring home Robinson. The very next batter, Blake Gailen slapped a single to left to score Gindle and set up for former Met Lastings Milledge, who ricocheted a ball high off the leftfield fence to bring home Halton. A groundout from Garrett Weber brought Gailen across the plate before Marzi finally ended the inning on a Vladimir Frias groundball to third base.
The Bees, meanwhile, struggled with runners on base in the early going, in part due to Lancaster starter Brad Bergesen. During the six innings Bergesen was on the mound, the Bees collected five hits. They were outhit on the night by the Barnstormers 11-7, with seven of those 11 hits going for extra bases.
After a quiet second inning, Marzi had to work himself out of a bases-loaded, no-outs situation in the third thanks in part to right fielder Jamar Walton throwing out K.C. Hobson at the plate. Jason Jarvis replaced Marzi in the fourth.
“That’s a good lineup over there,” Cliburn said. “Although Marzi did settle in, he was up in zone in that first inning and they tattooed him a little bit. Once he was down in the zone, second innings, third inning, he was great and Jarvis breezed right through his innings.”
New Britain finally got to Bergesen in the bottom of the sixth when Steven Carrillo hit a shallow fly ball into right field to bring in James Skelton who had reached third after a single, stolen base and a passed ball.
Lancaster, however, took the run back an inning and a half later when Gailen doubled to centerfield off Jarvis for his third hit of the night. Conor Bierfeldt appeared to cut the Bees’ deficit in the bottom of the seventh, but the ball was caught on the warning track.
Newington native Mike Hepple took over for Jarvis on the mound and worked himself out of a jam in the top of the ninth. He gave up just two hits and one walk in his 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Bees were unable to comeback in the bottom of the ninth with Craig Maddox being left on first base.
“Tough night,” Cliburn said. “We just have to go out tomorrow and try to win the series. It’s a tough challenge, but I like the way we responded after that four-spot.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach