White River Junction, Vt. - Troubled offensively for the duration of the contest, the Upper Valley Nighthawks fell 5-0 to the Plymouth Pilgrims on Sunday evening at the Maxfield Sports Complex. The Nighthawks fall to 13-12 overall, while the visiting squad improves to 16-9.
Upper Valley was stymied at the plate all game as Plymouth's starter Chris Gonzalez was dealing from the get-go. The sophomore from Stetson University surrendered three hits over eight innings of work. Gonzalez induced plenty of soft contact while striking out three and walking one in the victory.
Despite immediately threatening in the opening frame, Plymouth was held off the board by Levi Thomas, who worked out of the jam with back-to-back strikeouts. The Pilgrims refused to go away though, scoring two in the second, one in the third, while adding a couple of insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Thomas was charged with the loss after allowing three runs over four innings.
The Nighthawks nearly solved the puzzle in the third as Matt Tarabek led off the frame with a pop-double that fell just on the fair side of the right-field foul line. Yet, a Plymouth appeal revealed that Tarabek missed the first-base bag and he was set down. Following the second out of the frame, Anthony Meduri laced a base knock through the right side, but it was to no avail as the following batter was set down.
Breaking up a stretch where 12-of-13 Nighthawks were set down, Drew Tipton led off the eighth with a single to center. Two outs later, Bryant Bowen singled and Meduri followed with a walk to load the bases. Gonzalez responded by striking out the Nighthawks lead-off hitter to keep the home team off the board and the 3-0 lead intact.
Down five in the last of the ninth, the Nighthawks were able to put together a rally by scratching across three walks against Pilgrims relief man Christopher Holcomb. Plymouth countered with Jack Hogan who earned the unconventional five-run save by tossing just two pitches, which featured a game-ending double play.
Upper Valley heads out on the road for four straight games before returning home at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday against the Sanford Mainers. The Nighthawk road-trip starts at 4 p.m. on Tuesday with a doubleheader at the Danbury Westerners. Keep up with the action on the NECBL Broadcast Network.