The last time Manchester came to Eiras Park, the Mariners played the Rowley Rams to a nine-inning scoreless tie. It looked like it would happen all over again last night in a battle of the top two teams in the Intertown League.
That is until the bottom of the sixth inning when C.J. Ingraham finally got to pitcher Ryan Marques with a simple single to start a mini-rally and give the Rams the win, 2-0.
“C.J. was huge getting that hit,” said Rams coach Jeff Wood. “I can’t emphasize how big those things are. Just to get something going when we hadn’t had a lot going all night.”
The Rams (14-5-1) started left-hander Joe White, who let on a pair of runners with one out in the top of the first inning, but was able to escape the threat with a pop-up and a strikeout.
“I’ve been like that a little bit this year,” said White. “I usually end up throwing my most pitches in the first inning. And I felt good from there on in and just kept going.”
Marques took the ball for the Mariners (15-3-1) in the bottom of the first and gave up a one-out single to Ingraham, who was moved over to second base by a groundout from Dmitri Hunt. Marques would get Koby Thibault to pop out to third to send things into the second inning where Cory Burnham reached on an error from shortstop Colby Ingraham. But the Rams would turn a double play on Burnham and Marques to send themselves back to the plate.
Marques took the Rams down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second, and White did the same to Manchester in the top of the third. Nick Liguori started the bottom of the third off with a one-out single, then stole second. He was not able to advance as a pair of pop-ups ended the inning.
No runners graced the bases until the top of the fifth inning when Burnham slapped a single past second. But a stumble rounding second on what should have been a double from Marques found Burnham being gunned down at third to keep things scoreless.
Mike White had a two-out single past second in the bottom of the fifth, but was unable to advance as Ligouri hit into an out next.
Max Nesbit started the sixth inning off with a single out to centerfield, but did not advance. Ingraham started the bottom of the frame off with his big single, then stole second and came home on a scorched single out to center from Hunt. Koby Thibault sent Hunt home with a towering double out to deep center in the next at bat that gave the Rams some insurance.
White only allowed a walk (his first) in the bottom of the seventh to end the evening.
The Rams also beat the Mariners 7-3 in Manchester Tuesday evening,and White was feeling good about his season overall.
“We have so many pitchers on the team that I only have to pitch once every two weeks, so my arm is always feeling good,” said White. “We’ve had (Manchester’s) number all year. We’re right with them. We are going to see them in the playoffs and hopefully in the finals.”
“This is a great win for us,” said Wood, whose Rams stand in second place to the Mariners’ first. “Ryan Marques is one of the best pitchers in the league. He’s been around a long time, he knows what he’s doing, and he’s tough. But with the way things were going with Joe tonight, I felt pretty good too. He was dynamite.”
The Rams also kept an eight-game win streak going.
“We got a little bit of the win streak really going on,” said Wood. “We’ve also got a week-long break now, which I never like. We’ve got to keep playing when we’re playing well. But the guys have handled the breaks in the schedule this year, and I expect them to do the same thing. We’ve got a week’s worth of games left before the playoffs start, and we’re where we want to be.”