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Boulders Drop First to Aigles, But Take Two of Three From Trois-Rivieres

After dropping the first two of three games at Quebec on a six-game Canadian road trip, the Rockland Boulders were looking to remain perfect against the Trois-Rivières Aigles this season in a three-game set at Stade Stereo +. However, the Aigles had a different agenda taking a close game one 3-1.

The Aigles raced out to an early 1-0 lead in the first on a RBI single from Steve Brown. Trois-Rivières starter Matthew Rusch dominated for six innings striking out 10 hitters while yielding six hits. On the other hand, Rockland starter David Fischer matched Rusch working out of several jams surrendering just one run on five hits while striking out four and walking four in five innings on the mound.

Junior Arrojo drove in the lone run for the Boulders in the seventh with a sac fly scoring Ed Charlton. Arrojo sparkled in the field in the bottom half of the frame robbing Daniel Mateo of a single that was laced up the middle, flipping the ball to Pat McKenna who spun around and fired to first for the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

In the eighth inning, Trois-Rivières jumped back in front on a RBI single from Delvis Morales off Boulders reliever Pat Butler. Zak Colby followed ripping a run producing extending the lead to 3-1. Elvin Soto smacked a one-out double in the ninth but Trois-Rivières closer Kaohi Downing slammed the door shut striking out Ed Charlton and getting Jared McDonald to pop out ending the game.

Rain on Saturday night forced a doubleheader to be played on Sunday afternoon at Stade Stereo +. In game one, Rockland had to play from behind again as the Aigles scored three times off Richard Salazar in the second inning. With one swing of the bat from Marcus Nidiffer in the 3rd, the Boulders were back in the game. Nidiffer socked his 9th home run, a two-run shot off Ryan Bolinger.

Down to their last three outs in the seventh, Devin Harris belted his first homer in a Rockland uniform. The Boulders managed to load up the bases and Aigles reliever Scott Kuzminsky walked Jared Schlehuber forcing in the tying run. In the eighth, Jared McDonald put Rockland ahead with a sac fly. Junior Arrojo followed reaching on an error by Delvis Morales bringing in Harris. Edgar Valle remained perfect on the season registering his fourth win of the season while Hector Nelo nailed down his ninth save.

“It was huge coming back 3-3 and felt a lot better,” Manager Jamie Keefe said. “Our first game in the doubleheader probably best team game win in a long time. We grinded the at bats and scored twice in the last attempt to tie it up and two more the next inning that carried into the next game. A one handed swing by Devin where he got out in front of a slider and so strong the ball went about 460 feet.”

Rockland wasted no time taking the lead in game two of the doubleheader scoring three times in the second inning. Jared McDonald two-run RBI single got it going with Junior Arrojo following with a run-scoring single. Marcus Nidiffer sealed the victory cranking his second home in the twin bill and 10th of the year in the eighth. Rookie pitcher Mike Adams tossed a gem, hurling six innings allowing one on seven hits while striking out four and walking two picking up his second win.

“Game two was another decent offensive night for us but basically Mike Adams did a really nice job in the controlling the game and pitching out of some jams early,” Keefe said. “Marcus Hasn’t felt good and frustrated at the plate but his swings are getting progressively better and one of the biggest components is when he is healthy and back is stronger.”

The Boulders record stands at 29-20, two games behind the Quebec Capitales in the Can-Am League standing. Starting on Tuesday morning, Rockland squares off against the New Jersey Jackals in a three-game set with two of the games at Palisades Credit Union Park.

“It will be nice to get home tomorrow and a big series,” Keefe added. “We’re going to have to go through New Jersey, Quebec and Ottawa as well. All these series’ are huge and can’t go into thinking we will take game one and see what happens we’re putting ourselves behind the eight ball. We know if we take two of out of three we’re going to gain an extra game. I feel we have been healthier than we have been in a while and with an extra day off fresher.”

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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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