SUSSEX COUNTY DROPS 2016 HOME OPENER
Augusta, NJ – The Sussex County Miners (1-1) fell behind early to the visiting Rockland Boulders (1-1) in the 2016 home opener on Friday night at Skylands Stadium, and despite the efforts of LF Joe Dunigan, lost their home opener by a final score of 11-5.
The Boulders would get to Miners starting pitcher Michael Suk (0-1) within the first three batters. CF Jared McDonald led the game off with a single. The very next batter for Rockland, SS Junior Arrojo, took a pitch over the wall in left-center for a two-run shot and an instant 2-0 lead for the Boulders. LF Mike Schwartz would double and later score to make it 3-0 Rockland after one inning of play.
The score would stay that way until the 4th, when with two runners on, DH Marcus Nidiffer drove a ball into the right-centerfield gap. Two runs would score, and Nidifer would follow when the relay throw from SS Michael Antonio took a bad hop and bounce into the Rockland dugout, allowing Nidiffer to trot home with a 6-0 Boulders advantage.
The Boulders were up by seven before the Miners started to get the bats going. With Antonio, Ryan Lashley, and Carl Thomore all occupying bases, CF Jay Austin drove a pitch into centerfield, scoring Antonio and cutting the lead to 7-1. The next batter, 3B Nick Giarraputo, smacked a sacrifice fly to center to score Lashley and cut the lead to 7-2. Dunigan would follow with a single and the Miners cut the Boulder lead to 7-3.
Rockland would answer with two more runs in the 4th inning to make it 9-3 before Dunigan would excite the crowd on opening night fireworks night with a long blast over the right field wall. The power-hitting OF knocked home Austin in front of him after Austin had reached on an error. Dunigan’s 1st homer of the season cut the lead to 9-5.
The score would remain until the 9th when the Boulders added 2 more runs on another tough luck error, this time on 2B Lashley as the ground ball hit by C Alex DeBellis caught the lip of the grass and away for the final two runs of the game. Edgar Valle pitched 3 innings of relief work to pick up the save.
The Miners and Boulders will square off in a doubleheader Saturday night at Palisades Credit Union Park. First pitch of game 1 is scheduled for 6:30 PM and can be heard live on the Miners Radio Network. The Miners return home on Sunday to finish the series against the Rockland Boulders, with a first pitch start time of 5:05 PM. For tickets to this and all Sussex County Miners games, please click here or call our box office at 973.940.0222.
Photo by Dennis Mark.