PawSox Take First Playoff Game on Garin Cecchini’s Walk Off Single in the 10th

PawSox news release…

(Pawtucket, RI) – Pawtucket’s Garin Cecchini grounded a walk-off RBI single past a drawn-in infield in the bottom of the tenth inning to propel the PawSox past the Syracuse Chiefs, 2-1, on Wednesday night in game one of the best-of-five International League semifinal series in front of 2,326 fans at McCoy Stadium. 

PawSox starter Edwin Escobar came within one out of a complete-game shutout but Syracuse’s Brandon Laird tied the score and sent the game into extra innings with a ninth-inning home run.  But Pawtucket loaded the bases with none out against relievers Manny Delcarmen and Ryan Mattheus in the tenth to set the stage for Cecchini’s heroics.

Pawtucket, the International League’s wild card winner, leads the series 1-to-0 with game two scheduled to be played at McCoy Stadium on Thursday night. 

Bryce Brentz led off the tenth with a double to left on a 3-2 pitch against Delcarmen (0-1).  Then after Brentz advanced to third on a wild pitch, Delcarmen walked Travis Shaw to put runners on the corners and was promptly pulled in favor or Mattheus.  Ryan Lavarnway greeted the righty with a walk on another 3-2 count to load the bases.

Cecchini, the team’s RBI leader during the regular season, bounced a ground ball past the pitcher’s mound and through the middle into centerfield to score Brentz with the winning run.  It made a winner out of reliever Heath Hembree (1-0), who retired all four batters he faced after replacing Escobar with two outs in the ninth.

Escobar and Chiefs starter Taylor Hill dueled in a scoreless game until the bottom of the sixth, when Shaw unloaded a solo home run to deep right (1) on the first pitch of the frame.  It was the only tally Hill would allow in six full innings of work.

Escobar kept the Syracuse batters off-balanced all night, holding the Chiefs without a run and two only five hits through eight innings.  The lefty took to the mound for the ninth and quickly recorded the first two outs on a lineout by Manny Burriss and a strikeout of Michael Taylor.

But Laird, the IL’s RBI leader, drove a 2-1 fastball well out to left center to tie the game on Escobar’s 99th pitch of the night.  Delcarmen then pitched around a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth to extend the game to the tenth, where Hembree retired the side in order.

Shaw went 2-for-3 with a homer and two walks, while Blake Swihart and Brentz each collected three of Pawtucket’s 11 hits.  Catcher Jhonatan Solano went 3-for-3 with a double for Syracuse before being lifted in the eighth inning for a pinch runner.

Game two of the series is slated for a 7:05pm first pitch on Thursday night.  Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles will turn to right-hander Matt Barnes (8-9, 3.95), while the Chiefs are slated to throw righty Scott McGregor (1-2, 3.91).