AUSTIN GOES 3-FOR-4, BULLPEN THROWS 4 SCORELESS IN WIN
Augusta, NJ – Jay Austin led a ten hit attack with three hits, Michael Tamburino pitched five solid innings in his first start in three years, and the Miners bullpen threw four scoreless innings as the Sussex County Miners (5-5) defeated the Ottawa Champions (4-7) 6-3 on Bark in the Park night in front of 1,819 fans at Skylands Stadium.
The Miners would score first for the eighth time in their ten games this season in the second inning. Nick Giarraputo, celebrating his 28th birthday, led off the inning with a single and then stole second base. Elvin Soto would then push him over to third on a groundout, which set the stage for Chris Duffy, who would drive a ball deep enough to right field to score Giarraputo on a sacrifice fly and give the Miners a 1-0 lead.
Sussex County would increase the lead in the next inning. Nick Lombardi, playing in just his second professional game, would get his first career hit when he lined a shot over 1B Daniel Grauer and into right field. Carl Thomore would follow that up with a double, putting two runners in scoring position. Michael Antonio would ground out and Thomore would get erased on a tag out at third base, but the play allowed Lombardi to score and give the Miners a 2-0 lead. Austin would get his first hit of the night in the next at bat, then steal second and advance to third on C Brian Erie’s throwing error. Austin would then score when Giarraputo would reach safely on a throwing error by SS Vinny Demaria to make the score 3-0 Miners.
Ottawa would tie the game in the fifth inning with one swing of the bat. Albert Cartwright would lead off the frame with a single. Two batters later, Sebastien Boucher would draw a walk. That would set up former Miner Kenny Bryant, who drove a Tamburino pitch over the wall in right to level the score at 3-3.
Aside from that one pitch, however, Tamburino pitched well in his first start since May 17, 2013. All told, Tamburino would pitch 5 innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He managed to keep opportunities to a minimum thanks to not allowing the leadoff batter to reach base in each of his first four innings. 98 pitches in all, Tamburino was effective and found ways to work in and out of trouble.
Sussex County would retake the lead in the sixth inning. Jay Austin, continuing with the leadoff danger theme, started things with a single. He would steal second, and then get advanced to third on a Giarraputo groundout. Elvin Soto then poked a single that would drive home Austin to make the score 4-3 Miners after six innings of play.
In the seventh, the Miners would tack on insurance runs. This time, Gaby Juarbe would lead off with a single. Two batters later, Carl Thomore would work out a walk. That set up Michael Antonio, would reach out and send a flare down the line for an opposite field single, scoring Juarbe and increasing the Miner lead to 5-3, chasing Ottawa starter Wilmer Font in the process. Jay Austin would come up against Ottawa’s only left handed pitcher, Carlos Gil, and send an opposite field liner into left, scoring Thomore and giving the Miners a 6-3 lead.
The Miners bullpen worked in and out of trouble, but came up with the big outs when needed. Josh Wood, winning pitcher Nick Gonzalez (1-0), Drew Cisco, and closer Andres Santiago all allowed baserunners but came up with key pitches to end threats by Ottawa. All told, the bullpen threw four innings of scoreless relief. Santiago would pick up his third save of the season.
The Miners are next in action on Memorial Day at 6:05 PM when the defending Can-Am champions Trois-Rivières Aigles come to Skylands Stadium for a three game series over two days. Joe Donino is scheduled to start for the Miners, while Matthew Rusch is scheduled to start for Trois-Rivières. Monday night is also Memorial Day fireworks night at Skylands Stadium. For tickets, visit SussexCountyMiners.com or call the box office at 973.940.0222. Listen to the game live on the Miners Radio Network or watch on CanAmLeague.tv.
Photo by Gordon Forsyth.