WORCESTER — Despite a late-season swoon and a flood of players heading back to school, the Pittsfield Suns had a chance to reclaim their season with a deep postseason run, which began on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross Monday night. But just as quickly as it began, Pittsfield headed back to Berkshire County to clean out its things and head home.
The Suns fell 10-1 Monday night to the Worcester Bravehearts at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field, ending their season in the wild card round for the second season in a row and running the franchise’s postseason losing streak to six straight games.
With its season hanging in the balance, Pittsfield trotted out All-Star Mike Nocchi, the team’s most consistent pitcher remaining on the roster, against the league’s pitcher of the year in Angelo Baez, who finished the regular season with a 1.64 ERA.
Since the midsummer classic, though, Nocchi struggled, allowing 14 earned runs in two starts and seeing his ERA balloon from a modest 2.64 to a whopping 5.91.
Unfortunately for the Suns, those struggles continued into the playoffs, as it took just four batters for the Bravehearts to get on the board.
With runners on second and third base with one out, Ben Rice lined a single to centerfield, plating a pair of runs to give Worcester a two-run lead.
If you want to win in baseball, you have to be both lucky and good, and Worcester caught a stroke of luck in the third inning with the Suns threatening to get on the scoreboard.
A walk and a single put runners on the corners with one out and the top of the order coming up to bat. After Jack Cooney struck out, the Suns put on a hit-and-run with Troy Strack, sending Nate Cormier from first base.
Strack made contact, but the ball went directly to the second base bag where the second baseman Mariano Ricciardi was headed to take a possible throw from the catcher, and he made the play and stepped on the bag to get out of the frame unscathed.