Julian Sampson threw seven strong innings for the to take the decision as Rockland rapped out 10 hits – including homers by Matt Nandin and Ryan Scoma – in a 6-4 victory over the Quebec Capitales at Le Stade Municipal on Sunday.
The take their first win of the season into today’s day off, and they return to Provident Bank Park for their Home Opener against the Newark Bears on Tuesday to start a six-game homestand at Provident Bank Park in Pomona..
Sunday’s decision was a big test of character for Rockland, which suffered a heartbreaking defeat in 12 innings just hours before, allowing four unearned runs to take an 8-7 loss. Sunday’s afternoon action did not start in promising fashion as the Capitales touched Boulder starter Julian Sampson for back-to-back homers by Sebastian Boucher and Rene Leveret to put the hosts up a pair in the first inning.
Sampson would find his stride, however, keeping the defending champs off the board while allowing just two hits over the next six frames, giving his squad the chance they needed to battle back. Ryan Scoma cut the deficit in half with a homer in the second off Quebec’s Adam Kudryk and shortstop Matt Nandin – who hit just one homer for Pittsfield a year ago – stroked his second of the young season to tie the contest in the third.
Rockland took the lead for good in the sixth with a two-out rally. With nobody on, Norm Hutchins singled and Scott Clement doubled him in to make the score 3-2. Clement would come around when Ryan Mollica’s grounder kicked off the glove of Josh Colafemina to put the visitors up a pair. They ran the string to six unanswered runs with another pair in the seventh when, with bases loaded and one out, Scoma’s force-out grounder brought in Qualon Millender and Leveret was unable to handle the return throw cleanly at first, allowing Cole Kraft to scamper home to increase the advantage to 6-2.
The game would not end without further drama, however, as Sampson gave way in the eighth to Garrett Johnson, who retired just one of the four batters he faced, with Quebec plating a run on a Leveret double. Dan Jurik came on and hit Bobby Wagner with a pitch to load the bases, and walked Josue Peley to bring in a run and cut the margin to 6-4.
Jurik was not to be denied, however, battling back to fan Normand Gosselin and Jeff Helps to escape further damage and mowing down the top of the Capitales order in the ninth to secure the win. Sampson improved to 1-0 with the victory with Jurik earning his first save, while Quebec starter Kudryk taking the setback to fall to 0-1. Norm Hutchins wielded the hot bat in Rockland’s attack, going 3-for-4, while Millender added two hits.
With their first road trip behind them, the Boulders look forward to their return to Provident Bank Park to open a six-game homestand with their Home Opener against the Newark Bears on Tuesday, at 7:05 pm. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive magnetic schedules courtesy of Provident Bank, and all fans will receive bandage dispensers courtesy of Good Samaritan Hospital.
The evening will conclude with a special show by Fireworks Extravaganza, Pyromania choreographed to music. Festivities will start with opening ceremonies at 6:35 p.m.
The Boulders will play three games against Newark before hosting Jose Canseco and the Worcester Tornadoes in a weekend set.