WINTHROP — Unbeaten Monmouth Academy sent Nick Sanborn to the mound to try to put out a third-inning fire in Monday’s Mountain Valley Conference clash with rival Winthrop.

The sophomore’s first two pitches can only be termed as accelerant.

But Sanborn recovered and snuffed the Ramblers’ offense over the next three innings while the Mustangs exploded for 10 unanswered runs to rally to a 10-5 win.

Sanborn uncorked a wild pitch and then allowed a two-run single by Dakota Carter as Winthrop inflated its lead from 2-0 to 5-0 in those first two pitches. But he allowed only one hit and faced just one batter over the minimum over the next 3 2/3 innings (and that due to a dropped third strike).

“That’s kind of his role on our team, to come into games and get us through an inning,” Monmouth coach Eric Palleschi said. “He got us through an inning and looked good doing it and so we said, ‘Let’s give him another one.’ He settled down and did a good job.”

“My teammates calmed me down, just a group thing,” Sanborn said. “I knew what I had to do, throw strikes and let the people in the field handle it.”

A nice running grab in right field by Brett Wilson and an unassisted double play on a line drive to first helped Sanborn keep Winthrop off the scoreboard. Kyle Fletcher closed it out in the seventh.

Alex Curtis led a 13-hit onslaught for Monmouth (7-0) with three doubles, two runs scored and one driven in. Phil Rowe added a double, triple and three RBIs.

Monmouth starter Nate Gagne struggled with his control in the second inning, yielding a pair of walks and an RBI single by Garrett Settle as Winthrop (3-3) took a 1-0 lead.

Curtis struggled to find the strike zone when he came on to start the third, allowing a single, walk and two hit batsmen to score another run. Sanborn entered with the bases loaded and allowed all three to score before getting a strikeout and force out to prevent further damage.

The Mustangs finally got on the board against Jared Hanson in the fourth on Rowe’s two-out, two-run double to right.

“We hit the some balls hard early… but it seemed like the balls we were hitting were right at them,” Palleschi said. “We started to get a couple of breaks here and there and that’s when you start to get a little confidence.”

Monmouth took the lead with a six-run fifth. With one out, Curtis clubbed his third double in as many at-bats to drive in Hunter Richardson and Fletcher to make it 5-3.

“I was just looking for fastballs and trying to shoot it wherever it was,” Curtis said. “We’re a pretty mentally sound team. We can come back. We have the talent.”

Jariah Caissie (two hits) followed Curtis with an RBI single to make it 5-4. D.J. McHugh tied it with a sacrifice fly to right on a nice diving catch by Adam Hachey. Winthrop appealed the play at third, saying Curtis left third base too early, but umpires allowed the tying run.

Rowe followed with an RBI triple over Hachey’s head in right that put the Mustangs ahead.

“We didn’t make the plays,” Winthrop coach Marc Fortin said. “We  gave them a couple of extra outs in right field. We gave them their first two runs. That should have been a routine play. He made a great play (on the sacrifice fly). I don’t know how that guy tagged up on that diving play, but I guess (the umpire) said he did.”

RBI singles by Tom Small and Brandon Goff made it 8-5 before the inning was over. The Mustangs added single insurance runs in the sixth and seventh.

“They’re a good ball club that we certainly played with and I think we could have beat today, but we didn’t make the key plays we needed to make,” Fortin said. “Once we got behind, we were kind of listless.”


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