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Boulders bats silenced in series sweep by Cuba

Looking to get back on track after splitting a four-game series against the first place Sussex County Miners last weekend where they tallied 28 runs and 51 runs, the Rockland Boulders looked to continue their offensive prowess in the International Series taking on the Cuban National Team in a three-game set at Palisades Credit Union Park.

However, Rockland ran into a Cuba pitching staff that stymied the offense, permitting only one run and 11 hits in the three games played. The lone Boulders run coming on Wednesday night with Matt Oberste blasting his fourth home run of the season.

For the most part the starting pitching for Rockland held their own. Tommy Shirley tossed seven innings in the series opener on 104 pitches, yielding three runs on eight hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Reinoldo Lopez followed the next night with six innings allowing one run on five hits, walking none and fanning five. In the series finale, Pasquale Mazzoccoli went five innings, giving up four runs on six hits, two walks and whiffing two. Manager Kevin Baez used five pitchers out of the bullpen that surrendered one run on four hits, three walks and six strikeouts.

“Offensively we struggled, there is no sugarcoating it. In the three games against Cuba we didn’t adjust and do anything offensively,” said Baez. “The pitching has been outstanding but we’re putting a lot of pressure on them to give up nothing. Offensively we just didn’t do it and definitely made some bonehead plays. When you are not getting anything offensively, you have to minimize those mistakes and we didn’t do that.”

We have to try to put this behind as quickly as possible.” Baez continued. “We’ll get on the road and try to play better baseball. We have to start hitting. A couple of guys are basically doing nothing and they have to produce sooner or later. Hopefully Busfield can have a good outing today and keep us in the game because Sussex has a good team and we have to come ready to play today. After this road trip we have a nice little home stand so we need to start playing better.”

“The International Series is kind of neat. You get to see different cultures and players and how they go about the game. At the end of the day it’s baseball and we didn’t hold our end of the bargain, but it was kind of exciting”

Regarding the three-game series against Sussex County, the first two games will be played at Skylands Stadium before the series switches to Palisades Credit Union Park for the series finale. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. Currently the Boulders are 17-19 and in fifth place in the Can-Am League standings.

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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