PLYMOUTH — It was entirely too much Eric Knepper for Plymouth’s Pilgrims as the Bremen senior pitched and hit his team to a come from behind win at Bill Nixon Field on Wednesday night.
Knepper was 3-for-4 with a triple three RBI’s and a run scored at the plate and struck out five before leaving with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to take the win on the mound. Bremen reliever Bryce Cassel came on to record the final out and the save with the bases loaded in the seventh.
“He had a great game,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolf of Knepper’s night at the plate against his team. “He hits the ball hard and when you give him opportunities to drive runs in he’s probably going to do it.”
The story of the game was the Plymouth third and Bremen fourth innings, as the Lions jumped to a one run lead on a two out single by Knepper followed by a Tyler Coffell double. Plymouth answered with Brandon Milligan’s single and Jacob Frantz’s double, putting runners at second and third. An RBI single by Elijah Nixon, a wild pitch and a Martin Dyrcz ground ball brought home three to put the Pilgrims up.
Bremen wouldn’t go away as a leadoff double by Ryan Zellmer singles by Brett Louderback and Bryce Cassell led to four answering runs and that would be all Knepper would need.
“That was a big inning the problem was we gave one right back to them.” said Wolfe. “We had a lot of balls off the end of the bat. Lot of credit to Knepper for keeping us off balance but I thought especially the second or third time through the order we might have done a better job of letting the ball travel there but a lot of credit to them.”
“Baseball is about who’s going to answer back. We talk about having big innings and shut down innings. We had the tying run on first base (in the seventh) so I give my guys credit we gave ourselves a shot, but if we do the things we’re supposed to do maybe we aren’t in that position at the end.”
Plymouth starter Joe Dragani had a solid first start of the year effectively shutting down the Lions for all but the fourth. He also struck out five in his five innings of work and walked just one but was also hurt by five Plymouth errors in the game. Bailey Clark came on to wrap up the game and gave up two sixth inning runs on two out singles from Cassell and Jacob Bennitt followed by a Knepper triple.
Bremen moves to 2-1-1 on the year Plymouth falls to 0-2. The Pilgrims will be back in action tonight at Bill Nixon Field taking on Triton.
• BREMEN 7, PLYMOUTH 4
Bremen: 001 402 0 — 7 9 0
Plymouth: 003 000 1 — 4 6 5
WP – Knepper. LP – Dragani (0-1). S – Cassell.
3B – Knepper.
2B – Dyrcz (P), Frantz (P), Zellmer (B), Coffell (B).