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Boulders’ winless streak extends to five games after loss to Quebec

Looking to snap a four-game slide, the Rockland Boulders turned to starter Travis Hissong for some much-needed luck. In Hissong’s last start on May 24 against Quebec, Hissong tossed allowed unearned one run over five innings and striking out two notching his first win in a Rockland uniform.

Early on, Hissong received run support as Marcus Nidiffer crushed a solo shot in the second inning, Nidiffer’s second round-tripper of the season. Hissong looked sharp retiring the first nine hitters in a row. However, the Capitales erased that in a flash in the fourth inning scoring twice off Hissong. Brad Antchak chopped an RBI single over the head of the first baseman into right field. James McOwen then drilled an RBI single through the hole into right field.

In the fifth inning, Hissong encountered further trouble as Quebec had runners on first & second with one. With a pitch count at 80, manager Jamie Keefe made the call to the bullpen signaling for Matt Kostalos.

“We need a starter to get us past five, and it’s very frustrating as we are pretty banged up,” said Keefe.”

Yordan Manduley stepped up to the plate and hit a ground ball to second baseman Jared McDonald, but the throw from McDonald to Mogues went wide of the first base bag allowing Adam Ehrlich to score all the way from second base.  After Kalian Sams drew a free pass, McOwen drove in his second run of the game with a bloop double down the left field line.

After yielding the second inning home run, Quebec starter Arik Sikula dominated in his six innings on the mound limiting Rockland to one run on four hits. However, with Andrew Elliott replacing Sikula in the seventh, the Boulders managed to break through the wall.

With runners on the corner with one out, Mikael Mogues drove a fly ball to center field. Conrad Gregor tagged up and came in to score easily. JC Rodriguez kept the inning going, clubbing a base hit to left field. Catching a big break on an infield pop hit by Jared McDonald that dropped in front of a couple of players, Conor Bierfeldt scored all the way from second base.

Kylen Hansen took over the pitching duties in the bottom half of the frame and ran into an immediate jam allowing the first two runners on base. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners over, Kalian Sams belted a two-run single into center field. Hansen avoided further damage with runners on the corner with one, striking out the last two hitters.

Rockland refused to go down quietly in this contest with Gregor and Mike Montville each hitting base hits to keep the inning going. Frustrations boiled over on a pickoff attempt at first base with the ball skipping away but Montville unable to advance to second due to getting entangled with Capitals first baseman Lachlan Fontaine. Keefe came out charging to argue the call and was ejected for the second time in four games.

“I never really raised my voice, and all I asked was for help,” Keefe said.

When play resumed, Bierfeldt drew a walk to load up the bases, but Quebec relief pitcher Will Dennis induced Mogues into a fly out to center field. Down to their last three outs in the ninth, the Boulders attempted to work some magic late again with two outs. Kevin Krause ripped a single to right field that would be followed by a two-run missile by Cody Regis for his team-leading fifth homer of the season and 10th& 11th RBI’s of the season. The comeback would fall short as Capitales reliever Sam Donatello struck out Nidiffer to end the game.

In game three of the series on Wednesday night at Stade Canac, Kagen Hopkins gets the opportunity to break the Boulders’ drought.

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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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