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Boulders Tie Franchise Record After Sweeping Grays

Boulders have won five straight games.

The Rockland Boulders offense kept firing on all cylinders, scoring 31 runs and finishing a 3-game sweep of the Garden State Grays at Provident Bank. Rockland(42-26) has won five games in a row and tied a franchise record of 16 games over .500 that occurred on the last day of the 2014 regular season.

In the series opener, Steve Nyisztor went 4 for 5 with 2 RBI’s while Junior Arrojo chipped in with three hits and Joe Maloney scored three runs as the Boulders rolled to a 14-5 victory. Rockland broke the game wide open in the second inning score four times to increase their lead to 6-0.

“Stephen Harrold struggled with his control but got the ground balls when he needed to and kept the runs down,” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “When Steve Nyisztor hits especially in August, it’s on which we have seen a shade of the last four games plus first team he has felt well all year long. It’s not where you start but where you finish. We ran the bases well tonight and took the extra bag which put extra pressure on the defense.”

“I have received a lot of support from my teammates and everyone has a little bit to offer it’s easier to produce,” said Steve Nyisztor. “Everyone has been blending together and pulling in the same direction. It’s getting to be the end of the season where you have to play your best baseball.”

Marcus Nidiffer led off the 2nd blasting his 13th home run of a season that leads the Can-Am League off the left field foul pole. The Boulders stretched the lead out to 12-2 in the 4th inning with six runs. Stephen Harrold(7-5) notched his third win in a row completing six innings surrendering two runs on five hits while striking out three and walking five.

“I didn’t have my best stuff but hitters picked me right off the bat plus the defense played behind me,” said Stephen Harrold. “The wins are great as the team is really starting to put it together. We know our offense is capable of going out there and scoring 15 runs a game but as pitchers’ our job is to keep them in the game.”

In game two of the series, Stephen Cardullo bashed a solo homer, his 6th of the season into left field bleachers in the sixth inning giving the Boulders a 2-1 lead. Rockland put the game away scoring four times in the 7th to take a 7-1 advantage. Charlie Law went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI’s including a sacrifice fly in the 4th that tied the game up at 1-1. Law has driven in 9 runs in the month of August. After a rough outing against Quebec a week earlier, Fray Martinez pitched lights out tossing six innings yielding one run on two hits while striking out three and walking one to register his second win of the season.

“We know it’s there with Fray because Bobby and I saw it three years ago,” said Keefe. “He had between seven and nine pitch innings. It was great to see bunts being laid down perfectly especially two in one inning. We like where we are at and a good win for us.”

“The first time starting was a learning experience but this time I came out with a good attitude and making the pitches plus feeling much more comfortable than the first time,” said Martinez through interpreter which was fellow teammate and starting pitcher Alex Gouin. “I just dug deep out of the jams knowing I am capable of getting these guys out. It’s exciting to contribute and help the team win.”

“It was only a matter of time because early in the season everyone in front of me was driving in runs,” said Charlie Law. “There have been more chances of late to drive in runs. Our strength is being capable of putting up five runs in an inning.”

In the rubber match of the series, Rockland scored three times with two outs but the biggest hit of the night came off the bat of Junior Arrojo who bounced a single through the hole into left field in the 7th giving the Boulders a 3-2 lead. Joe Maloney made a sensational full extension diving catch in right center robbing Garden State first baseman Vincent Guglietti of an extra-base hit in the 8th inning.

“That’s huge trying to get some momentum as we head out on a road to the Midwest,” said Junior Arrojo. “We’re playing some good ball especially here in August. Our lineup is so tough one through nine that we are capable of coming up with big hits.”

Maloney followed up that play leading off the bottom half of the frame with a double and stealing third before sliding in safely at home on a Charlie Law bouncer to third baseman Luis Gonzalez who fired immediately to home plate increasing the Boulders lead to 4-2. Rockland went on to score three more times to secure the win.

“The two-out RBI’s were enormous and the guys in the lineup do not give at bats away,” said Keefe. “With two strikes the guys just bared down and put the ball in play. The way we run the bases we are going to score. We got big hits late and hung around until we got to their bullpen.”

Coming off his second stint on the disabled list, Bo Budkevics was impressive hurling 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with four strike outs  and at one point retiring 9 in a row but did not factor in the decision. Shawn Gilblair(2-1) earned the win in relief by retiring just one batter that was Darian Sandford  with a runner on 2nd in the 7th inning.

The Grays had tied the game up at 2-2 in the 6th on a Carl Thomore RBI single to left field that Stephen Cardullo misplayed allowing Yefry Castillo to score from second. Budkevics escaped further damage getting Luis Gonzalez to ground into inning ending 5-5-3 double play as Giuseppe Papccio stepped on third and fired to Charlie Law at for the final out of the 6th.

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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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