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Silver Knights have tough start to season vs. Rox

Telegraph photo by TOM KING Nashua Silver Knights starter Evan Christopulos delivers a pitch in the first inning of the team's 9-6 season opening loss at the hands of Brockton Wednesday night at Holman Stadium.

NASHUA – The Nashua Silver Knights began the 2019 Futures Collegiate Baseball League season the same way they ended the 2018 campaign – losing to the Brockton Rox.

Wednesday night’s 9-6 season opening night loss before an announced paid crowd of 915 at Holman Stadium more or less fit the chilly night that was more suited for early April than late May. The ragged game (six combined errors) dragged and Nashua was down 4-0 after the first three innings.

“Everybody’s in the same boat,” Silver Knights manager B.J. Neverett said with teams basically starting unfamiliar with their players after reporting just two days ago. “It takes time.”

But Brockton’s boat had smoother sailing. The Rox struck quickly, as Mike Sabatine led off the game with a single off Knights starter Evan Christopulos, stole second, and scored on a groundout. Sabatine’s two run triple highlighted a three-run third for the Rox, who also got a run in the fifth on Eddy Hart’s RBI single.

The Knights were outhit just 10-9 and both teams made three errors. Nashua was led by Jared Dupere (Northeastern), who went 2 for 5, including a solo homer in the ninth, and scored two runs.

“The real difference in the game is, in my opinion, is they had some big hits with guys on base, extra base hits that we didn’t have,” Neverett said. “They’ve got a good club (Brockton). Those kids can swing it.”

The Silver Knights picked up two runs off Rox starter Nick Sinacola in the fourth when Billy Butler was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded (the official first RBI of the Nashua season) and Josh Brodeur’s RBI single. They got two more off the Rox pen to close to within 7-4 in the sixth on former Rox Jack Arend’s bases loaded walk and a wild pitch.

But J.P. Knight’s two run double in the top of the seventh opened up the lead to 9-4, although Nashua answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh – after which the game was paused for what was supposed to be a post-game fireworks show. It had to be done early to make the city ordinance curfew.

“They were very aggressive,” Neverett said. “And we kind of weren’t. We kind of sat back. I think we’ll be OK. We’re figuring the pitching out, and you saw we have some capable arms.

“We were happy with Christopulos. He got a little flustered because he had a couple of pitches he thought he got squeezed on, and it affected him. He’ll learn that that’s going to happen in this league.

“But I thought all-in-all, the guys did a good job for the first game.”

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Eastern Connecticut righty John Parker will get the starting nod on the mound tonight for Nashua at Worcester, the Bravehearts season opener ….

The Silver Knights still have about a half dozen roster players that have yet to report, a couple due to NCAA tourney play. Four of them are soon-to-be high school grads, who won’t arrive until around mid-June…

Nashua’s next home game is Sunday vs. Worcester at 5:05 p.m.