Bullpen stumbles in 7-3 Nashua loss
The momentum of Thursday night’s electric 10th-inning walk-off fizzled and faded in the face of the New Britain Bees, who took advantage of the Nashua Silver Knights’ bullpen to win 7-3 on Friday night.
Thursday’s win, 4-3 over the Norwich Sea Unicorns, culminated with two home runs, completing a two-run comeback and delivering Nashua its first win of the season. And although Friday night’s game seemed to be shaping up accordingly — the game was tied 3-3 heading into the eighth inning, and Thursday’s matchup was tied 1-1 heading into the ninth — the bullpen let it slip away.
With two on and two outs, New Britain’s Todd Petersen hit a home run and broke the tie. The Bees tacked on one more after a walk to Rory Lynch, who ran his way around the basepaths with two stolen bases and a wild pitch.
The fact the game remained tied for so long is a credit to Jake Thibault, Nashua’s starter who went five innings and gave up two earned runs. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter in his first start in three months.
“I was a reliever for Merrimack College,” Thibault said. “I only had one start, so it felt good to go out there. My goal was to just pound strikes early on.”
Trey Ciulla-Hall, Nashua’s DH, drove in all three runs. His mammoth home run in the fourth inning — his second of the year — gave Nashua its 3-2 lead, although it was relinquished the next time the Bees came up to bat.
Ciulla-Hall had been batting higher in the lineup before Friday night and batted fourth on opening day. Silver Knights manager Kyle Jackson said he’s changing up the lineup to get players like Ciulla-Hall more fastballs.
Despite the bullpen costing Nashua the game, it's been the Silver Knights’ lineup that has struggled. Despite winning on Thursday, the team scored only four runs — all via home runs. Two of Nashua’s three runs on Friday came from the long-ball.
“The team’s gonna have to make some adjustments,” Jackson said. “It’ll start at BP, try to get more hits than home runs, cut down the swings a little bit.”
Those adjustments seemed to come in part on Friday. Only two Nashua starters failed to reach base, with the only true offensive failure being in stringing hits together. The Silver Knights even scored their first run without a hit — just a hit by pitch, passed ball, sac fly and groundout.
The Silver Knights will continue their quest for offensive production on Saturday, when they rematch the Norwich Sea Unicorns at Holman Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 pm.