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Titans dust Dirt Dawgs for fourth straight win. Story by John Nestor

POSTED July 17, 2012
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

TORRINGTON - A season first has moved the Torrington Titans into second.

Kevin Lum and Ryan Plourde both scored twice and had a pair of RBIs to lead the Titans to an 11-6 victory over the Wachusett DirtDawgs on Tuesday night at Fuessenich Park.

The win gave the Titans (18-14) their first four-game win streak of the season and moved them into second in the FCBL standings.

Things didn't start off great for the Titans as a pair of errors opened the door for a three-run first inning for the Dirt DawgsWachusett tacked on a run in the top of the third and all of a sudden it was 4-0 and it was starting to feel like Torrington would once again come up short in its bid for a fourth straight win.

"I felt it a little bit, you start to feel here we go again," said Torrington coach Misha Dworkin. "But this time not as much, I really felt like we were going to be OK and that they were going to have to put up 8 or 9 to beat us."

That didn't happen.

Titans starter Derek Richards (Babson) battled through five innings, allowing five runs -just two earned - and six hits to pick up his fourth win of the season. It turned out that Dworkin was right as Richards held the Dirt Dawgs down just enough and the Titans offense got going.

Lum (Cameron College) sparked a six-run third inning for the Titans with a two-run single to left-center field. Torrington sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame and Plourde (Fairfield) added a two-run double that one-hopped the wall in left-center.

"Everybody is coming together," Plourde said. "Our pitching staff has been great all season and now offensively we are picking it up. The main thing is clutch hits. We are getting guys on and now we are getting clutch hits and driving in runs."

The Titans tacked on two more runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to take a 10-4 lead. Lum walked and scored in the fifth and has scored in five straight games and hit in six straight, going 10 for his last 18.

"Hitting is contagious," Lum said. "I've been working with Misha on letting the ball get deep and using the whole field. I'm being a little more selective."

Despite being last in the FCBL standings, the Dirt Dawgs have been a pain for the Titans and have twice stopped Torrington from winning a fourth straight game this season. On Tuesday the Titans broke through with their offense and a couple solid innings of relief from Travis Landry (Franklin Pierce).

Landry came on for Richards and tossed a pair of scoreless innings, allowing just a walk with two strikeouts. It was another in a line of good performances from the righthander out of the bullpen.

"Everything seemed to be working pretty well," Landry said. "Had my fastball going, cutter and a slider tonight."

In mid-June Landry's ERA was over 20 but now he has turned himself into one of Torrington's most effective middle relievers. He has allowed just one run in his last five appearances, yielding five hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched in those games.

A few adjustments and some hard work have added up to some solid results for Landry and made him a valuable part of the bullpen.

"I'm feeling comfortable, I've been working on where my feet were landing and working on driving toward the plate instead of falling out," Landry said.

Connor Ortolf took the loss for the Dirt Dawgs, allowing six runs in 2 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.

In all the Titans had 11 hits with at least nine players getting one hit. Seven different Titans scored a run and Conor Bierfeldt (Western CT) and Tyler Bashlor (South Georgia) each had two RBI.

"It's been tough to make the lineup, which is nice," Dworkin said. "We are starting to swing the bats well and we have a lot of different guys contributing."

The Titans look to extend their season-best win streak Wednesday in a day-night double headers with Old Orchard Beach at Fuessenich Park. Game one is set for 12:05 p.m. with the second game scheduled to start at 7:05.

For more from John Nestor click here