Lawrenceville, Ga. – The Marietta Patriots took a combined no-hitter into the eighth inning as they defeated the Gwinnett Tides 6-2 Thursday night at Georgia Gwinnett College.
With the victory, the Marietta improved to 10-14 and snapped a five game losing streak, while Gwinnett fell to 8-15. The Patriots currently hold a 1-1/2 game lead over the Tides for the fourth and final spot in the Sun Belt League playoffs.
"That monkey was starting to become a gorilla, and we finally got it off our backs," said Patriots head coach Gil Navarro on breaking the five game losing streak. "I'm excited to get a win after a five game losing streak."
Chris Rolick (2-2) was dominant in his sixth start of the season for Marietta. The right-handed redshirt freshman from Georgia College and State struck out a season-high 11 batters and allowed no runs on no hits with three walks before leaving the game after six innings due to the Sun Belt League’s pitch-smart rules.
"It was extremely difficult," said Coach Navarro on taking Rolick out after six innings. "You could see that he was getting tired in that last inning, but for him to give us 11 strikeouts and a no-hit shutout like that was just an amazing thing for him to do."
With runners on second and third after a walk by Gabe Howell and a Trey Vanderpool single coupled with an error in right field, Joe Stucky delivered a two-run double into the left field corner to put the Patriots up 2-0 in the second inning. Stucky then advanced to third on a wild pitch before Livingston Morris walked. That set up a successful double-steal as Morris stole second on a pick-off attempt by Kohlton Hamman (1-1) and Stucky stole home during the run-down to make it 3-0 Patriots.
In the third, Nate Stinson led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. Matthew Vaccaro then extended his current hitting streak to six games with a single into center field that scored Stinson and increased Marietta’s lead to 4-0.
The score remained 4-0 until the sixth as Gabe Howell doubled and Trey Vanderpool walked to lead off the inning. Joe Stucky then flew out to first base in foul territory before Howell scored and Vanderpool advanced to third on a fielder’s choice error by Wes Brooks trying to start a force double play at second. Devin Bilardello then legged out an infield single that scored Vanderpool and give Marietta a 6-0 lead.
The Tides broke up the Pats combined no-hitter with a double by Cam Coursey in the eighth. Ali LaPread then broke up the shut out with an RBI single up the middle. Gwinnett added one more run on a hit and two walks in the ninth.
Marietta returns to action Friday, July 20th, when they host the Brookhaven Bucks in a 7 p.m. game at Jackie Smallwood Field.