On Wednesday night, the 29-19 Lincoln Potters returned home to McBean Park for their second of three games with the 5-26 Solano Mudcats. In five prior matchups with the Mudcats this season, the Potters were yet to lose a game and averaged over ten runs per contest.
Making his third start for the Potters on the mound was Colin Reilly (Tulane University). Reilly managed to hold the CCL North-leading Healdsburg Prune Packers scoreless through five innings in his last start.
The New Jersey native got off to a quick start on Wednesday with a scoreless first and was even given immediate run support in the bottom of the inning when Nolan Wilson (University of Nevada) drove in Tyler Gerety (University of Kansas).
The Mudcats quickly answered in the top of the second, scoring three runs on two hits and a Potters’ error. The Potters loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning but failed to lessen the deficit.
Eric Vasser (Sacramento City College) relieved Reilly in the third, appearing in his fifth game since July 15, the most of any Potter pitcher in that span. He allowed another run in the inning.
After the Potters failed to plate any runs in the third, Vasser was replaced by JoJo Villarreal (Texas Southern University) in the fourth. After allowing a run in each of his last four appearances, Villarreal made it through the fourth quickly, making the first out of the inning on a successful pick-off attempt.
The next couple of innings included more of the same. The Potters consistently failed to bring runners home in the fifth and sixth innings while Villarreal held it down on the mound. Through three scoreless innings, Villarreal struck out five while only allowing two hits and a walk.
Anthony Perez (CSU East Bay) became his replacement in the seventh inning with the score still in favor of the Mudcats at 4-1. He allowed an earned run without allowing a hit in the inning. After Perez walked two of the first three batters, Nolan Wilson allowed a passed ball putting two men in scoring position for the Mudcats. A sacrifice fly brought the lead runner home and Perez stranded one.
After Tyler Gerety reached via walk to start the bottom of the inning, a flawless hit-and-run was deployed with Reuben Church (University of Kentucky) at the plate. It seemed as if Gerety managed to avoid a tag on a late throw into third base, but was unexpectedly called out by the third base umpire. Boos rang through McBean Stadium and third base coach, Nate Espozito was ejected for arguing the call. The Potters did manage to score one run in the inning when Nolan Wilson eventually drove in Church.
Sebastian Kirchner (University of New Mexico) allowed another Mudcat run in the eighth to extend their lead to four, before the Potters answered in a big way in the bottom of the inning. After three Potters reached via walk to load the bases, Reuben Church drove them all in with a double hit to deep right-center field. Including those three RBI, Church had driven in fourteen runs in his last seven games. Now trailing by one, Ben Higdon (University of Kentucky) drove in his future college teammate (Church) to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, coming back from down four in the inning.
With the score tied at six, Devin Marton (Minot State University) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth. In the bottom of the inning, three Potters reached base to lead off the inning. If just one of them scored, the Potters could send the Mudcats home with a loss. After allowing those three baserunners, Jake Tandy (University of Pacific) of the Mudcats struck out three consecutive Potters all swinging, sending this thriller of a game to extra innings.
After failing to convert a no outs, bases loaded situation, the Potters looked to Vincent Cicolello (UC Riverside) to keep the score right where it was. The 6-6 tie was short lived however, as Jake Tandy returned to haunt the Potters at the plate as well, launching a three-run bomb well over the left field fence. This was Tandy’s second home run of the season.
While Reuben Church did manage to score his second run of the game as the designated runner, the Potters failed to score the two more runs necessary to extend the game to the eleventh inning, falling to the Mudcats by a final score of 9-7 in ten innings of play. The Mudcats have won two out of their last three games after losing eleven straight league games prior.
For the Potters, this loss will force them to wait even longer for an opportunity to clinch a spot in the CCL Playoffs. With four more regular season games, the Potters will likely need to win at least two for a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
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