Sullivan, Knights slug Titans

NASHUA – Ryan Sullivan, it seems, has been a Nashua Silver Knight forever.

But of all his time in a Nashua uniform – this is season four – he’ll remember Friday’s 19-5, 2-1 doubleheader sweep of the Torrington Titans perhaps the most.

He ended up with three homers and drove in seven runs in the first-game rout, which was the resumption of a game suspended in Torrington a month ago, and became the Futures League all-time RBI leader in the process (92).

Then, in the bottom of the 10th in the nightcap, Sullivan scored all the way from first on Yanni Thanopoulos’ third walk-off hit of the year, a double over the head of Titans right fielder Mikey Arman. It sent a fireworks crowd of 1,912 into a frenzy and raised the Silver Knights to 22-13.

"He’s a good player," said Nashua manager B.J. Neverett of Sullivan, who ran through a stop sign to score despite a sore calf after being hit there by Titans reliever Lizandro Cruz (2-1) to start the inning. "There are some nights where you look at what he does and go ‘Whoa.’"

"It was a great day," Sullivan said. "I didn’t know (about the RBI mark), and I also thought (in the nightcap) I was going to go out for a pinch runner. But I didn’t have time to think (about his sore calf). I was going all the way."

Cruz thought Sullivan was out and was tossed by the umpires from a game that had already ended. As for Thanopoulos, Neverett, thinking he’d see a good fastball in a bunt situation, let him swing away to start.

"Right fielders have been playing him in all year," he said.

"(Cruz) grooved one," Thanopoulos said. "I got it right on the barrel."

Lost in the excitement was the pitching performance by starter Mike Geannelis (one unearned run Friday, no earned runs in his last 13 innings) and Nashua’s bullpen as a whole. Seth Pinkerton (3-0) got the win with a scoreless 10th thanks to a couple of assists by catcher Mickey Gasper, who went 4 for 4 with six RBIs in the first game and two hits in the second to boost his league-leading average to a whopping .474. Luke Glancy’s home run just inside the foul pole in right off superb Torrington starter Connor Lewis (eight innings, one run) tied the game at 1 in the third.

In the first game, Nashua (21 hits) began the day with an 8-1 lead and things got a little interesting when the Titans plated four off former Nashua South and current St. Anselm righty J.J. Dunn. But Dunn settled down to toss four scoreless innings thereafter, allowing seven hits overall with one walk and one strikeout.

"It definitely took some getting used to," Dunn said of seeing mound action for just the second time in a Silver Knights uniform after signing just over a week ago. "But then I settled down, felt more comfortable and made some pitches."

And, of course, the Silver Knights hit. They came back with two runs in the third on Sullivan’s RBI infield single and Cam DiSarcina’s RBI double.

"When it got to 8-5, we came back and scored, and I think it took a lot out of Torrington," Neverett said, he and Titans manager Zack LaRosa getting FCBL permission to cut the first game to seven innings.

But the day/night belonged to Sullivan, his three homers tying Logan Gillis’ team single game record. He had two in the first two innings of the portion of the suspended game played in Torrington, then hit a three-run shot in Friday’s continuation.

"I’m happy for the kids," Neverett said. "It was a tough week."

But a feel good Friday, especially for Ryan Sullivan.