Titans stay hot, cool down Suns for third straight win. Story by John Nestor
TORRINGTON – The Torrington Titans have found a recipe for success in the early going of the Futures Collegiate Baseball league season, get great starting pitching and then have the offense put on the pressure.
That formula worked for the third time in three games Sunday afternoon as Tyler Dierke delivered a gem on the mound and Gus Craig had three hits and an RBI to lead the Titans to a 4-2 victory over the Pittsfield Suns.
The Titans (3-0) improved to 2-0 at Fuessenich Park and are three-for-three as far as getting quality starts from its pitching staff.
Dierke (1-0) was the latest to deliver for Torrington as he went seven innings and allowed just three hits while striking out five without allowing a walk.
“I was able to get ahead early in the count, first pitch strike is my key when I go out there,” Dierke said. “I was able to get ahead with my fastball and they went after the change-up and I was able to throw that ahead in the count and get a lot of hitters on that.”
Dierke was in control throughout his seven stellar innings and he retired 14 of the last 15 batter he faced. The only batter to reach in that span was left fielder Ryan Deitrich who was hit by a wayward curveball by Dierke.
The performance was pretty impressive considering the Suns came into the contest having scored 33 runs in their first three games and no less than eight in any of those.
“I talked with my catcher and he said just keep going after them,” Dierke said.
“I told him to go right at them because, they are a good hitting team but its hard to catch up to someone with a good fastball, especially with a wood bat,” Torrington starting catcher Ryan Plourde said. “He had that moving in and out and he had a good change-up, had some of their hitters guessing.”
While Dierke had things under control on the mound, the Titans scratched out a run in the second to take an early lead and added three more in the fourth to make it 4-0.
Plourde delivered an RBI groundout in the second to plate DH Aldo Ferrante, who singled to lead off the inning and stole a base to move into scoring position.
In the fourth Kyle Decker led off with a walk and Plourde was hit by a pitch before Craig doubled to left center to score Decker. Jordan Serena and Matt Cianci also drove in runs in the frame.
Suns starter Dan Bradley took the loss, allowing four runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings. Bradley walked a pair and struck out three and managed to keep his team in the game as the Titans left five on base.
“We didn't break him, we got some stolen bases, we got some hits but we just didn't break him,” Titans manager Misha Dworkin said. “We had a couple innings where we had some runners on and we need to get those guys in, but overall we played well.”
Pittsfield (2-2) managed to score two runs in the eighth after Dierke's day was done. Travis Landry started the inning and almost escaped without allowing a run but a two-out base hit by Chad Funkhouser barely through the hole between second and first plated two.
Closer Austin Bailey came on to get the final four outs and he struck out the side in the ninth to nail down the win.
“That's why he's the closer, he's the real deal,” Dworkin said.
He came on with a runner on second in the eight but got a ground out to end the inning and then dominated the ninth.
“Mainly when I come in with any kind of mess I just try and keep a clear mind end especially with two outs, just going after the batter was my mentality,” Bailey said. “I was able to throw the fastball by some guys to get ahead and the splitter was working and I got a couple guys to chase that in the dirt.”
The Titans have an off day Monday and get back at it with a doubleheader Tuesday against the Marthas Vineyard Sharks with Game 1 scheduled to start at 5:05 p.m.