Boulders Beat Dominican Republic Behind Herceg’s Grand Slam

The Rockland Boulders took down the Dominican Republic for the second straight game by a score of 7-3. Markus Solbach (5-0) pitched seven innings giving up three runs with seven strikeouts. Solbach bounced back from a tough first inning to pick up his fifth win of the season to tie his teammate Justin Topa for the lead league. Felix Lacen (0-1) recorded the loss after surrendering four runs in four innings of work.

The Dominican Republic started the game with two home runs in the first inning. After Rockland outfielder Aaron Wilson robbed Rodney Polonia of a hit with a diving catch, Jose Miguel Rosario blasted a solo shot to start the scoring. The next batter Edward Salcedo walked and Norberto Susini homered to give his team a 3-0 lead.

Neither pitcher gave up another run until the fourth inning when the Boulders got on the board in grand fashion. A pitch hit Marcus Nidiffer and Mike Fransoso and Wilson each drew walks to load the bases. Rookie Alex Herceg came to the plate and crushed a grand slam giving Rockland the 4-3 lead.

The Dominicans threatened in the top of the sixth when Solcedo reached on a throwing error by third basemen Cody Regis that allowed him to go to second base with no outs. Solcedo moved to third on a flyout to center but Solbach got out of the jam by striking out Gilbert Gomez and Antony Brito to preserve the lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, relief pitcher Victor Martinez was called on but could not keep the D.R. within one run. Dylan Tice led off with a single. As the next batter, Regis crushed a two-run home run to right center to build the Boulder advantage. Joe Maloney then walked and moved to third because of an error by catcher Danny Taveras after a stolen base. Maloney scored on a deep sac fly by Nidiffer giving Rockland the 7-3 lead.

Newly acquired pitcher Jon Velasquez and Ethan Elias each pitched one shutout inning to close the game out for the Rockland win. The Boulders improved to 21-8 while the D.R. is still searching for a win at 0-8. The third and final game of the series will be tomorrow with a 2 p.m. Father’s Day start as Rockland goes for the sweep at home.

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