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Playoff Bound Boulders Drop 2 of 3 at Trois-Rivieres

unnamed (6)Fresh off clinching their second consecutive Can-Am League playoff spot in dramatic fashion against the Garden State Grays at Provident Bank Park, the Rockland Boulders traveled up to Canada to face off against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in a 3-game set.

Trois-Rivieres came ready to play as they took two out of three from Rockland.

Despite dropping the series, the Boulders (56-30) tied their number of regular season wins from 2014 and their magic number shrunk to clinch the pennant trimmed down to 5 games.

In the series opener, Trois-Rivieres wasted no time getting on the board scoring twice in the first inning highlighted by a 2-run homer from Steve Brown.

The Aigles would add three more runs in the second taking a 5-0 lead. Rockland only saw the margin grow larger as Trois-Rivieres plated four more run in the fifth taking a commanding 9-0 lead. The Boulders avoided the shutout in the ninth with an RBI single from Alex DeBellis.

Alex Gouin absorbed the loss lasting only 4 2/3 innings while surrendering nine runs on ten hits while walking four.

The second game started out the same for the Aigles jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI single from Javier Herrera. Joel Carrenza drove in the third run of the inning flicking a 2-out single to right field. Rockland’s best scoring chance came in the 3rd inning with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out but Aigles starting pitcher Ryan Bollinger struck out Joe Maloney and inducing Marcus Nidiffer to fly out to left field. Bollinger stymied the Boulders for 8 innings scattering five hits while striking out six and walking none. Richard Salazar was charged with the loss allowing three runs on five hits, walking three but struck out 10 hitters.

“A very well pitched game by Salazar and Bollinger” said Manager Jamie Keefe. “This is a team playing for their lives right here in Trois-Rivieres” added Keefe. “Their lineup is good as anyone we faced all year long”

Rockland fell behind for a third game in a row in the 2nd inning on a hot smash line drive from Craig Hertler off Junior Arrojo’s glove allowing Jose Cuevas to score. The Boulders responded in a flash in the 3rd as Steve Nyisztor belted a double off the center field wall scoring Jared McDonald from 1st tying the game up at 1-1. Joe Maloney followed slapping a single into left field as Nyisztor slid in safely at home plate putting the Boulders ahead 2-1.

Hertler ripped a drive into center in the fourth that was misplayed by McDonald allowing Kyle LaFrenz to score knotting the game up at 2-2. Rockland snapped out of its scoring slump in a big way in the 7th as Giuseppe Papaccio blooped a 2-out 2-run bases loaded RBI single down the right field line as the Boulders reclaimed the lead to 4-2.

Joe Maloney drove in his 2nd run of the game hammering a single to right scoring Junior Arrojo. A sac fly and RBI single from Alex DeBellis boosting the advantage to 7-2. Rockland cemented the game scoring four more times in the ninth with Marcus Nidiffer walloping a bases loaded clearing double down the left line. Marcus Jensen earned his 7th win of the season, hurling six innings allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one.

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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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