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Boulders Blast Their Way to Victory

By Christian Heimall, 08/24/16, 10:00PM EDT


Rockland Hammers Four Home Runs in 8-6 Slugfest

(OTTAWA, Ontario) – Rockland was held scoreless through the first four innings but four homers, including two from Devin Harris, powering them to an 8-6 win over Ottawa. For the Boulders (49-39), it was their second straight win and seventh in their last eight contests.

It took a while to get going, but the Boulders offense really came to life in the top of the fifth inning. Trailing 1-0, Marcus Nidiffer blasted a two-run homer off starting pitcher Luis Munoz, before Jared Schlehuber and Devin Harris each belted solo shots of their own for a 4-1 advantage. It was the first time this season that the Boulders have hit three consecutive home runs.

With a newfound lead, pitcher Brett Palanski went to work in the home half of the inning. After allowing the first two batters to reach, putting runners at the corners, he induced a double play ball from Albert Cartwright that allowed a run to score. The righty would eventually get out of the inning, stranding two Ottawa (47-42) runners, before running into trouble in the sixth.

Despite the issues suffered by Palanski, his offense would stake him a cushion large enough to survive the Champions threat. The Boulders added four runs in the top of the sixth against reliever Andrew Cooper, including a two-run blast from Harris, his second homer of the game. Rockland also got runs via a throwing error and a sacrifice fly, giving them an 8-2 lead.

Ottawa quickly made an attempt at a comeback in the home half of the inning with the first four batters reaching base. Daniel Grauer’s bases loaded walk would be the last batter that Palanski would face. Relief pitcher Matt Kostalos allowed three inherited runners to score before an inning-ending double play from Kenny Bryant cut the Boulders lead down to 8-6 after six innings.

The Champions would bring the tying run to the plate in both the seventh and eighth innings but the Boulders bullpen would leave those runners stranded. Hector Nelo would then come on and pitch a scoreless ninth for his 15th save of the year.

Even with the struggles, Palanski (3-1) got the win by pitching into the sixth and allowing six runs, five earned, and walking seven batters. The loss was charged to Munoz (3-3) who gave up four runs on six hits in five innings of work and striking out nine.

Rockland returns to the states on Thursday, August 25th, but travels to Sussex County for the first in a four-game split series. The teams will alternate between Skylands Stadium and Palisades Credit Union Park this weekend, beginning with a 7:00pm first pitch in August, New Jersey tomorrow night. The Boulders will clinch their third straight playoff appearance with one win in the series against the Miners.