BRISTOL - After being shutout in the first two innings, the Bristol Blues offense got hot scoring five runs in the next three against the Worcester Bravehearts.
With Bristol’s bats heating up, the rain came down harder at Muzzy Field and the 8-5 score after five innings was the final as the game was called Wednesday night.
“We felt like we were slowly coming back into the game,” Bristol outfielder Alex Loparco said. “We put one across in that last inning and cut it to three but we had four innings left to hit so we were definitely confident that we could tack on a few more and compete until the end.”
Justin Rouse struggled on the mound for the Blues. He allowed three earned runs with four hits and two walks in the first. Five runs in total crossed the plate as Bristol went down 5-0 before getting its first at bats.
Brett Coffell had a bases clearing double to give Worcester a 3-0 lead. The fourth run came on an error by Blues center fielder Richard Brereton and then Joe Pesce added a RBI double to make it 5-0.
Rouse was pulled after one inning of work.
“His velocity was there, he just didn’t have good command,” Bristol manager Ronnie Palmer said. “His fastball got away from him a little bit tonight too so that’s just him feeling out his pitches and finding his grip and us looking at it and seeing where his arm slot is.”
In the bottom of the first the Blues had a chance to chip away at the lead. Ian Ostberg and Loparco both reached base, Ostberg singled and Loparco walked.
Both were stranded on base though as the first came to a close.
“You don’t want to chase runs all night, especially a five-run deficit,” Palmer said. “I think the five runs really hurt us because it put us behind the eight ball but then when we get runners on first and second I thought we could get a little bit of the momentum back. Us not scoring in the bottom of the first was just as harmful as giving up five in the top.”
Ostberg and Loparco set the tone offensively for Bristol at the top of the order. Loparco went 2-for-2 with a RBI, two runs scored and a walk in the No. 2 spot. He drove in Ostberg with a RBI double in the third.
In front of Loparco Ostberg continued his hot start to the season with a 3-for-3 night adding a pair of RBI and a run scored. His two RBI came in the fourth inning.
The pair has been solid for Bristol this season, a consistent fixture at the top of the lineup.
Outside of those two Bristol’s lineup only mustered up two hits.
“The guys behind them need to start taking advantage of opportunities,” Palmer said. “Just look at the first inning tonight we have those two on first and second and we don’t get a run.”
Jason Hebner and Mark Silvestri pitched in relief of Rouse.
Silvestri was impressive with two perfect innings in the fourth and fifth. He had a pair of strikeouts and didn’t show any signs of the weather impacting him.
“Mark told us after his last outing that he finally feels good again as far as his arm and such,” Palmer said. “And it’s shown. His velocity is back to what we expect it to be and his breaking ball has bite again. And he had command in the zone the last two times out so we expect that to remain this summer.”
The Blues will have a day off before hosting the Nashua Silver Knights on Friday night back at Muzzy Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.