Firebirds 3, Red Sox 0: Wednesday night featured a lengthy pitchers' duel between the Orleans Firebirds and the Y-D Red Sox at Eldredge Park, but Orleans who finally got on the board late to come away with Game 1 of the Cape Cod Baseball League East Division playoff series, presented by Rockland Trust.
The Red Sox will look to even the series at home in a must-win game at 4 p.m. Thursday at Red Wilson Field in South Yarmouth.
In a matchup that featured strong pitching from both sides, it wasn't until the seventh inning that the Firebirds notched the first run. Orleans loaded the bases with one out before No. 9 hitter Jerry McClanahan (California Irvine) entered the box and singled to left-center, driving in Garrett Black (Ohio) and Johnny Sewald (Arizona St.) to make the score 2-0 in favor of Orleans. While the pair of runs would be all that the Firebirds needed for the victory, they tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning on a throwing error from Y-D.
The real story was the impressive pitching from Orleans. In total, the team used three pitchers to strike out 18 Red Sox. Leading the charge was starting pitcher Kolton Mahoney (BYU), who tossed seven scoreless innings and yielded just four hits while striking out a season high 13 batters and walking just one en-route to the win.
Bobby Poyner (Florida) came on to relieve Mahoney in the eighth inning and picked up right where he had left off, striking out the side while allowing just one hit. The lockdown pitching continued in the ninth when Reilly Hovis (UNC-Chapel Hill) came on to close and struck out a pair of Red Sox without allowing a hit to preserve the shutout and collect the save.
David Fletcher (Loyola Marymount) and David Thompson (Miami) led the offensive charge for the Firebirds and each finished 3-for-4 while RJ Ybarra (Arizona St.) went 2-for-4.
Justin Jacome (UC-Santa Barbara) was the tough-luck loser, keeping the Orleans hitters at bay for six-plus innings before finally yielding a run. Jacome's final line was seven innings with two earned runs on eight hits and five strikeouts.
Andrew Stevenson (LSU) was Y-D's only multi-hitter, going 2-for-4.