Bristol blanks Knights in FCBL semi

BRISTOL, Conn. – It’s been the Nashua Silver Knights’ Achilles’ Heel all season long:

The Big Bad Inning.

That was the case on Thursday night at old-time Muzzy Field, and as a result the Nashua Silver Knights’ 2015 season has come to an end thanks to a 7-0 FCBL semifinal defeat at the hands of the Bristol Blues.

Nashua gave up four in the fourth and then three in the eighth. The Silver Knights were outhit and, despite being the league’s best defensive team statistically in the regular season, committed four costly errors.

"That’s how it goes, good teams will take advantage of that," Silver Knights manager Ted Currle said. "In the fourth inning, they got some timely hits, and we made some timely mistakes."

The Blues now move on to play either Worcester or Martha’s Vineyard in the finals beginning Friday.

Nashua starter Ryan Moloney (Londonderry, UMass-Amerst) had held the Blues hitless through the first three innings. But it all unraveled in the fourth as Bristol scored four runs on three hits and two Silver Knight errors.

With one out, Moloney walked Davis Strong, and gave up a hit to Willy Yahn. The throw in from left fielder Tyler Noe skipped past third allowing Strong to score. Gerrad Rohan singled in Yahn for a 2-0 Blues lead.

Dylan Morris singled in another one, and then Nashua right fielder Tyler Schwanz inexplicably dropped Ryan Rinsky’s lazy fly for the inning’s second miscue and fourth run.

"I thought Ryan pitched well," Currle said. "He just ran into some trouble in that fourth."

The Blues enjoyed another big inning in the eighth off the Silver Knights bullpen. Brandon Walsh gave up four straight hits (also an error on Noe overrunning one of them) and the lead was 7-0.

Conversely, the Knights were able to hit Bristol righty Kyle Dube (Fairfield), putting a runner on in every inning against him but the sixth. Nashua’s best threat was the fourth but another bugaboo – baserunning issues, reared its ugly head. Ryan Sullivan was picked off second on a flubbed bunt attempt and Schwanz was easily thrown out at third after tagging on a fly ball.

"In the fourth, those two base running mistakes, we hurt ourselves," Currle said.

Dube tossed seven innings, allowing seven hits, but he only issued one walk while striking out five.

The Silver Knights were hoping for their fourth finals appearance in the FCBL’s five years, but instead the fifth seeded Silver Knights had to settle for their first playoff win (Wednesday vs. North Shore) in two years. They finished 29-29 overall.

Perfect example: a night after their best win of the year, the Silver Knights turned in one of their worst. Not making the finals means Nashua goes without a home playoff game for the second straight year.

"It would have been nice to play at home," Currle said. "Up and down, up and down. We were 29-29, that pretty much explains it. But I really appreciate what management did for us, and these kids are a talented group and they’ll do well."