In his recent college season with Florida Atlantic, Nathan Pittman did not have any stolen bases, which is quite remarkable, given his start to the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League season with the Riverhead Tomcats.
With his four stolen bases Tuesday — all in the first four innings of an 8-2 win over the first-place North Fork Ospreys — Pittman brought his season total to seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Not bad.
Neither was host Riverhead’s hitting, pitching and defense as it ran up its third straight win following on the heels of a rough 1-5 start to the season.
First, the hitting. The No. 9 batter in the order, Jeff Welsh, drove in three runs on 3-for-3 hitting. Another Tomcat, Kevin Curtis, went 2 for 3 with a walk as Riverhead totaled nine hits.
Pitchers Cooper Smith and Kevin Needham combined for a five-hitter. Smith (1-0) went five innings before turning the game over to Needham, who pitched four innings of scoreless one-hit ball. Smith allowed two earned runs and four hits. He struck out three, walked three and hit two batters.
And then there was some defensive flash. In the eighth, Tomcats right fielder Tyler Brant, charging in hard on a dipping fly ball hit by Billy Ferriter that was swerving away from him, left his feet to make a diving grab for the third out.
The Tomcats used legs, namely those belonging to their leadoff hitter and left fielder, Pittman, to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After drawing a walk, Pittman stole second base and then third. Eric Romano then shot a liner through the right side to bring him home. It was the first of two runs batted in on the day for Romano.
The speedy Pittman, who went 0 for 3 and walked twice, repeated the feat in the fourth, when he once again stole second and third. As a team, the Tomcats stole seven bases in the game. That lead was doubled to 2-0 in the second with two walks followed by a one-out single ripped into left field by John Adornetto.
Sebastian Grazziani lashed a run-scoring single to put the Ospreys (5-3), who lead the league’s Hampton Division, on the scoreboard in the third.
The Tomcats scored twice in the fourth on an infield single by Adornetto that second baseman Dan Muscatello dove to stop, but couldn’t make a play on, and a sacrifice fly by Welsh.
The North Fork’s starting pitcher, Chuck Fontana (1-2), lasted four innings before being relieved by Mike Czenszak. But Fontana had a workout, throwing 87 pitches.
The Tomcats took a run off Czenszak in the fifth. A walk by Matt Fleishman and a well-struck single by Curtis set up Mike Lonsdale’s run-scoring fielder’s choice for a 5-2 lead.