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Hissong & McDonald lead the way in Boulders 5-2 win over Quebec

Making his first start in a Rockland Boulders uniform and at Palisades Credit Union Park on Thursday night, Travis Hissong felt good to get the first one under his belt. Having only started twice in his professional career the situation was still fairly new to him.

“I felt rusty but tried to bear down and give my team a chance to win against a team that is very competitive in this league,” said Hissong. “I hope I can continue to sharpen up and get better in each start and find a good starting routine. It’s been a great experience as a Boulder so far and I thank the good Lord I still get to play the game of baseball.”

Hissong encountered a jam right out of the gate in the first inning with runners on second and third with one out but managed to strike out James McOwen and induce Brad Antchak on a fly out to right field. Settling into a groove on the mound, Hissong retired seven hitters in a row at one point.

Manager Jamie Keefe on Hissong’s start, “Not a start in four years and we knew what kind of he has and really stretched him out so he could put up good numbers and get an opportunity.”

Entering the game, left fielder Jared McDonald had been struggling at the plate hitting a meager .136 but McDonald quickly changed those numbers with one swing, cranking his first home of the season into the Short Porch area in right field. Rockland added another a run without a hit, Cody Regis tripled down the right field line and came into score on wild pitch uncorked by Capitales starter Arik Sikula.

Quebec trimmed the Boulders lead down to 2-1 in the fifth on a throwing error committed by second baseman Rylan Sandoval. Not wasting anytime in the bottom half of the frame, McDonald padded the lead bashing his second home of evening, deep over the right centerfield bleachers.

Hissong exited the game after five superb innings on the hill yielding one unearned run on two hits while striking out two and walking one. The bullpen trio of Marc Huberman, Matt Kostalos and Kyle Hansen dominated in four innings on the mound allowing one unearned run on four hits, five strikeouts and no walks.

“Good for him (Jared McDonald) and big for Mo (Mogues) getting the start at first base and playing great defense and hitting a double himself,” Keefe said. “I said if we win the series, it’s hats off to him for pitching three innings yesterday and that is not necessarily his job and huge because the bullpen was fresh and ready to go.”

“Huberman was awesome too, Matt (Kostalos) with an unearned run but they didn’t hit a ball hard off him and they found a couple of holes and Kyle (Hansen) walking through that lineup. Being able to do something clean and a 2:22 game at home and huge for us. A solid all-around baseball game for everybody in a Boulder uniform tonight.”

Hissong on the pitching tonight, “Definitely a team effort, guys were able to come out of the bullpen and throw strikes and get very important outs. A great group of guys and love to see each other succeed.”

After Quebec sliced the deficit down to 4-2 in the eighth, got a big insurance in the bottom half of the inning on a two-out RBI single from Conrad Gregor. In the ninth, Kyle Hansen’s number was called to close out the contest, looking to erase the bad memories of blowing a save in Game 2 of a doubleheader on Sunday against Sussex County, Hansen displayed no ill effects fanning two out of the three hitters recording his second save of the season.

“Conrad (Gregor) busting out tonight for us is big for us and he had a tough time in Double A, didn’t get a ton of at bats in a row and gets a little spread out here and have a better approach at the plate and in a Boulders uniform that he needed to do tonight,” said Keefe.

Now the Boulders embark on a 7 game road trip to Canada. First up is a three game series against Trois-Rivieres followed by four game set at Quebec.

“4-3, usually we come out of the game of the gate hot on fire, said Keefe. We played some good baseball teams, Sussex County played well up to date. We played some good baseball, two games where we didn’t play well. We got better on this first home series. This is huge for us to get out of town and let our guys learn each other and by the time they return home excited to play baseball and not worry about everything off the field.”

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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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