Leominster, MA—Matt Shaw (Maryland) hit two homeruns and Worcester starter Christopher Mott (NYIT) struck out eleven batters in four 2/3 innings pitched to give the Bravehearts a 7-3 victory over the Brockton Rox. With the win, the Bravehearts clinched the top seed in the league for the upcoming championship series.
Worcester pitchers also struck out a league-record 22 batters. Relief pitcher Justin Murray (Dartmouth) fanned eight-straight batters in his three scoreless relief innings, tying the league record for most consecutive punch outs previously set by Worcester starter Cole Chudoba (Assumption) earlier this summer.
Worcester jumped out to an early lead in the first inning when Shaw led off the game with a home run to give Worcester a one run lead. It was the fourth time this season that Shaw led off the game with a homer. After Ben Rice (Dartmouth) singled and Ben McNeill (NYIT) doubled, Tyler Patane (Franklin Pierce) hit a three-run homer to put Worcester up 4-0.
In the fourth inning, Mike Khoury (Brandeis) hit a solo shot to put Brockton on the board. The Rox struck again in the fifth. Mott struck out the first two batters of the inning but was relieved by Will Hesslink (Boston College) after he walked Jake Rainess (Maine). Hesslink walked the first batter that he faced. He then gave up a two-run RBI double off the bat of Evan Sleight (Rutgers) to make it a 4-3 ball game.
The Bravehearts would respond in the bottom half of the frame. Shaw hit his second solo homer of the evening to extend Worcester’s lead to 5-3. Since playing his first game for the Bravehearts on August 9, Shaw has hit eight homeruns in 11 games. Aidan Wilde (Stonehill) hit a two-run homer in the eighth to extend Worcester’s lead to 7-3.
Mott gave up two earned runs off one hit and five walks in addition to striking out eleven Rox batters. Hesslink picked up the win for Worcester, while Rox starter Gavin Reily (Wheaton) got the loss for Brockton. Reily pitched five innings, surrendering five runs off eight hits.
Prior to tonight’s game, both Worcester and Nashua had clinched the top two seeds in the league to put them in the three-game championship series. It was announced earlier today that all three games will be played in Nashua. However, as the top seed, Worcester will be the home team for games one and three (*if necessary). The FCBL championship series begins on Thursday.
With the win, Worcester improves to 23-15 on the season, while the Rox fall to 19-19. The Bravehearts play their final game of the regular season tomorrow night at home, against the New Britain Bees. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm.