Navs Ride Past Waves in Fraser Finale

07/28/2022 8:37 PM

LYNN, Mass. -- The North Shore Navigators concluded their home schedule on a high note, using a four-run fifth inning to move past the Ocean State Waves for a 5-3 win in Thursday night’s New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action at Fraser Field.

North Shore moves to 13-29 on the season after earning its fifth win in the last seven games, while Ocean State fell back to the .500 mark at 21-21.

The Navs strung together 12 hits and had four repeat hitters in the game. Shortstop Jonathan Luders (Seton Hall) led the way by going 3-for-5 from the top of the lineup, crossing the plate during a decisive four-run fifth inning.

Designated hitter Connor Bertsch (Dartmouth), first baseman Nathan Blasick (West Virginia) and catcher Robert Wirtanen (Wheaton) all had two hits to help the North Shore offense. Wirtanen socked a leadoff triple in the sixth inning for the team’s lone extra-base hit.

NECBL All-Star righty Jake Gigliotti (Northeastern) nabbed the win, allowing a single run on six hits with two strikeouts across five innings of work. 

The Waves actually got on the board first as catcher Justin Long (Rice) hit a two-out RBI single in the second inning. That was as close as Ocean State would come for the remainder of Gigliotti's outing as a 1-2-3 third and Wirtanen catching a runner stealing in the fourth helped him post three straight zeros.

After stranding runners in three of the first four innings, the Navs batted around and scored four runs on five hits in the fifth to take full command of the game. Wirtanen and Luders started the frame with back-to-back singles and second baseman Jake Gustin’s (Bryant) knock through the right side plated the tying run. 

Ocean State starter Nick Payero (Seton Hall) recovered to post the next two outs before Bertsch walked and Blasick lined a bases-loaded, two-run single into right. Left fielder Jake McElroy (Holy Cross) extended the North Shore lead with an infield knock off the pitcher’s glove. 

In the eighth, the Waves got back in the game after first baseman Drew Holderbach (Marietta) hit a leadoff single and scored on a wild pitch. The hosts added a key insurance run as right fielder Brady O’Brien (Colby) and Wirtanen both walked, Luders reached base on another bunt single and Gustin was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Center fielder Khryee Miller (Winthrop) tripled home a run in Ocean State’s half of the ninth, but Max Tarlin (Endicott) closed out his second save. Max LeBlanc (UMass) enjoyed a strong relief outing of his own, striking out three over two scoreless and hitless innings.

Eight different Waves recorded hits and Payero struck out seven across five innings in the losing effort.

Following a day off, the Navs will hit the road for their final two games of the regular season this weekend. The first stop is Martha’s Vineyard for a 7 p.m. Saturday contest against the Sharks in Oak Bluffs.