Newport Gulls Shut Out Sanford Mainers In Game One Of NECBL Championship Series

Newport Gulls Press Release

NEWPORT, R.I. – After defeating the Plymouth Pilgrims to win the NECBL Southern Division Championship, the Newport Gulls were looking to take an early lead in the NECBL Championship Series against the Sanford Mainers on Monday. Behind great pitching from John Kilichowski and timely hitting, the Gulls were able to take a 1-0 series lead over the Sanford Mainers with a 5-0 shutout victory in front of 2,771 fans at Cardines Field.

In his second start of the postseason, Kilichowski shined, keeping the Mainers offense in check throughout his outing. The southpaw from Vanderbilt allowed no runs on one hit, striking out seven batters in seven innings of work. Kilichowski also had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, but a single by Caden Bailey broke up his bid.

The Gulls struck first in the bottom of the second inning against Mainers starter Nicholas Poore. After Tanner Donnels led off the inning with a double, P.J. Jones brought him home with an RBI single. After a Will Smith walk loaded the bases, Poore was able to strike out Ryan Tufts, following up that up by inducing a double play off the bat of Shea Donlin, maintaining the Gulls lead at 1-0.

Meanwhile, the bottom of the fifth inning brought another run for the Gulls against Poore and the Mainers. With Tufts leading off the inning with a single, Tommy Edman laced an RBI single to left field to propel the Gulls to an early 2-0 lead.

After seven strong innings from Kilichowski, the Gulls relied on solid relief pitching from both Mark McCoy and Armand Rugel. With McCoy pitching, pinch-hitter Michael Rescigno ripped a high fly ball to center field. However, Jose Vizcaino Jr. made an acrobatic catch at the fence, leaping up to rob Rescigno of a base hit. However, Mainers catcher Kendall Patrick struggled to get back to first base, eventually getting doubled off on an aerial strike from Vizcaino Jr. in center field.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Gulls tacked on three more runs against the Mainers pitching staff. Facing reliever Anthony Ciavarella, the Gulls had two outs before a botched pop up by Mainers second baseman Sam Dexter that allowed Ben Roberts to score from third. In the following at-bat, Jones lofted a two-run home run over the left field fence to give the Gulls a 5-0 lead into the ninth.

Rugel, who retired pinch-hitter Steven Berman on a ground out to end the eighth inning, came back out to face the Mainers in the ninth. After allowing a leadoff single to Sam Balzano (who later advanced to second on a balk by Rugel), Rugel retired the final three batters to give the Gulls a 5-0 victory and a 1-0 series advantage.

Tomorrow, the Gulls will travel to Goodall Park to try and clinch their sixth Fay Vincent Cup against the Sanford Mainers. Jack Patterson will get the start for the Gulls, while the Mainers counter with NECBL All-Star Richard Vrana. First pitch is slated for 6:30 pm. If the Mainers win on Tuesday, then a decisive Game Three will take place on Wednesday at 6:35 at Cardines Field.

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