By: Caden Charpentier – Media Operations Coordinator
In the second low-scoring affair between these two rivals this season, Newport (12-8) defeated Ocean State (9-13) winning its fourth in a row, and second in three matchups with the Waves. The win moves the Gulls into sole possession of first place in the Coastal Division following the Sharks’ defeat against the Navigators on Friday night.
Starting pitching has been the catalyst for the Gulls during this four-game winning streak, and Friday night was no different. University of Miami product Jake Garland started on the mound for Newport, going six innings, allowing just three hits, and getting nine swinging strikeouts in the process. It’s the second straight outing of nine or more strikeouts and the first contest this summer where the righty did not give up a single run. Garland leads the Gulls in innings pitched with 18.1 and is tied for the lead in strikeouts with 23.
The Newport offense only managed two runs against Ocean State, but still managed fireworks. Mississippi State Bulldog Colton Ledbetter launched his team-best sixth home run of the season in the third inning that would end up being the difference between the two teams in the end. Ledbetter finished the night with two hits, which makes it the eighth time this summer that he has collected double-digit hits in a single game. He has had a home run in five out of the last six games at Cardines Field. Ledbetter has the fourth-best on-base percentage in the entire NECBL as he continues to lead this Newport offense with his unparalleled power at the plate.
Hitting in the spot above him in the lineup, East Carolina’s Alec Makarewicz extended his hitting streak to 11 games, dating back to his June 19 debut with the Gulls. The third baseman’s single in the third inning allowed Ledbetter to get him home via the two-run home run in the next at-bat. Joshua Kuroda-Grauer also had a solid day at the plate, collecting another two hits. It is the ninth time this summer that the Gulls shortstop has put together a multi-hit performance.
In relief of Garland after the sixth inning, Newport used three pitchers in order to keep the Gulls’ lead intact the rest of the way. Vanderbilt Commodore Ryan Ginther was the second man out of the bullpen, going just one inning, allowing no runs, and striking out two to get out of an eighth-inning jam. With the tying run at third base and the go-ahead run on first, Ginther stranded both Waves with an inning-ending strikeout before Logan McGuire closed it out. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket captured his first save of the season, with a hitless outing and a strikeout to seal Newport’s sixth one-run win this summer.
With first-place back into the possession of the Gulls, Newport travels west to take on the Danbury Westerners (10-11) for a 6:30 start in the Gulls’ first and lone trip to Rogers Park during the regular season. The Gulls are back at Cardines Field on Monday, July 4 for Guaranteed Rate Independence and Freedom Night when they take on the North Shore Navigators (5-16) in another divisional battle at 6:35 pm.