The Boulders entered Tuesday night’s double header at 22-8 looking to widen the gap at the top of the Can-Am League. They would do just that and take the first game in wild fashion.
Rockland got things started with a big first. Centerfielder Jared McDonald led off with a double and third baseman Cody Regis drove him in with a single. A Joe Maloney walk would be followed by a Marcus Nidiffer two-run double to make it 3-0.
The Boulders went to work again in the second on a double from second baseman Dylan Tice. Regis would produce another RBI-single and give the Boulders a four-run lead. That deficit quickly shrunk in the bottom half as Taylor Brennan took Chris Carmain deep on a two-run blast. Carmain would finish with five innings pitched, six hits, two earned runs, two strikeouts and one walk.
After a quiet third, Rockland got to New Jersey starter Lee Sosa again in the fourth. Tice would hit his second double of the night and Regis would lace one of his own to drive in his third run.
The bats cooled down again for both sides in the fifth and sixth before a jaw-dropping seventh inning. Shortstop Mike Fransoso made the game 6-2 on an RBI-groundout to give the Boulders more insurance. Surprisingly, that cushion ended up not being enough.
Rockland reliever Ethan Elias took the mound after a smooth sixth and plunked three batters in a row. Mayckol Guaipe would enter a bases-loaded jam and put away Rylan Sandoval to get the first out. He then walked Conrad Gregor and gave up a sacrifice fly to Brian Burgamy to make the score 6-4. Brian Joynt would then deliver a clutch two-run single to tie the game before Guaipe punched out Brennan to send it to extras.
Both teams left a combined four runners on base in innings eight, nine and 10 due to solid relief from Nate Gercken, Johnny Hellweg, Matt Kostalos and Alex Farina. Regis would then build on his remarkable night in the 11th and break the ice on a sacrifice fly. Nidiffer would bring home his third run on a single to extend the Boulders lead to 8-6.
Farina would allow an RBI-groundout from Gregor before shutting the door to get Rockland the 8-7 victory. How could you follow up a contest like that? Easy answer, seven more innings.
The Boulders took care of business in game one and they did the same in game two. Bo Budkevics took the hill for Rockland and threw an absolute gem. He concluded the evening with six innings thrown, three hits, one unearned run, nine strikeouts and two walks.
The first three innings were quiet for him as well as Jackals starter Andres Caceres with the exception of a Marcus Nidiffer double in the second.
After walks from Joe Maloney and Nidiffer in the fourth, Mike Montville poked a three-run bomb to left to get the Boulders on the board. That inning would end Caceres’ night. He finished with four innings pitched, two hits, three earned runs, seven strikeouts and two walks.
New Jersey would get a run across in the fifth in response. Dvontrey Richardson would reach on an error, Adam Martin singled and Yariel Vargas drove in Richardson on a sacrifice fly. The Boulders were blanked in the fifth, sixth and seventh by the likes of Kuehl McEachern and Evan DeLuca.
McEachern finished with two innings, one hit, three strikeouts and two walks while DeLuca ended with three strikeouts and one walk.
The score would stay 3-1 as Rockland’s pitching continued to dominate. Budkevics retired the side in the sixth and the recently acquired Jon Velasquez picked up the save. Jamie Keefe’s crew will look to complete the series sweep Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. at Yogi Berra Stadium.