Silver Knights edge Pittsfield Suns, 2-1
By TOM KING
NASHUA – Fans who left Holman Stadium discouraged after the Nashua Silver Knights got ripped by Brockton the other night got payback in a good way on Saturday night.
In one of the most entertaining games of the last couple of seasons, the Knights edged Pittsfield 2-1 in a game that featured clutch hitting, pitching and defense from both sides in front of a pleased crowd of 1,412.
"It was just a great, tight college baseball game," Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said. "It was a well-pitched game, great defense by Pittsfield, and a play at the plate for us. It’s the first one-run game we’ve won in regulation without walking off."
For Nashua (14-6), the clutch pitching came in the form of three straight inning-ending strikeouts with the tying and/or go-ahead runs in scoring position. Anthony Meduri fanned Pittsfield’s Kevin Donati with the bases loaded to end the seventh, and reliever Jake Nelson (fifth save) fanned the Suns’ John Nollet with runners on second and third to end the eighth and Donati again in the ninth with the tying run on second.
"We needed this," Silver Knights offensive hero Ryan Sullivan said. "We needed our starter to throw well and the pen to come in and back him up."
And not waste Sullivan’s clutch first-pitch, two-run single to left that broke a scoreless tie in the pitcher’s duel that had been between Nashua starter Sean Mooney (five no-hit innings, 1-0) and Pittsfield’s Brandon Shileikis (0-3).
"I was just trying to put a good swing on it and hit through it," Sulllivan said as he drove in Cam DiSarcina (infield hit) and Yani Thanopoulos (double).
Mooney, the recent high school grad from Marmora, N.J. (just outside of Atlantic City) showed no fear in his first FCBL start. He had to leave due to FCBL pitch count rules after 87 pitches through five, but he struck out four, walked two, and had one other hitter reach on an error.
"People don’t understand we have to take him out even with a no-hitter due to the pitch counts," Neverett said. "That error probably cost him 15 pitches."
"I felt good," Mooney said. "I’ve never pitched in front of this many people before. But it was just another game."
Another great game, highlighted by Silver Knights right fielder Yani Thanopoulos’ one-hop throw from right field to cut down Pittsfield pinch runner Trent Bryan at the plate on a solid single by the Suns’ Al Zachary in the eighth. The Suns had cut the lead to 2-1 with an unearned run in the seventh on Devin McGrath’s infield RBI hit.
These games are never easy. Two Nelson wild pitches — the first on what was a potential game-ending strikeout in the ninth with no one on – created more drama. But Nelson fanned Donati to end the thriller.
Nashua now heads to Worcester to face the 14-5 Bravehearts at 5 p.m. Sunday in a battle of division leaders.