The Toll Gate Titans baseball team overpowered the Lincoln Lions 10-3 during the Titans' senior night at Mickey Stevens Sports Complex on Thursday afternoon.
Toll Gate senior Matt Martinez earned the win, pitching a complete game and striking out three on 87 pitches.
“He got ahead of hitters,” Toll Gate head coach Nick Durand said. “Once we gave him the lead, he filled up the zone. That’s what you got to do.
The Titans’ offense was led by its seniors Dylan Palmiotti and Andrew Ekroth, who contributed two hits and three RBI each.
Lincoln head coach Vin Zibelli felt his Lions were outplayed in every part of the game.
“We’ve got to pitch better, (we’ve) got to field better, and (we’ve) got to hit better,” Zibelli said. “That’s really it today. It was just every facet of the game, base running, from hitting to fielding. You’ve got to give Toll Gate a lot of credit. They played hard. They came out inspired and they definitely took it to us in all aspects of the game today.”
Toll Gate didn’t waste any time getting on the board.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Titans had the bases loaded when they got a two-run single from sophomore right fielder Jake Langevin. Then, with runners at first and second, senior second baseman Andrew Ekroth drove in first baseman Palmiotti and extended Toll Gate’s edge to 3-0.
The Lions pulled within one at 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning when with two outs, senior shortstop Blake Zaniol hit an RBI single down the third base line and drove in Aaron DeSousa, the junior outfielder. Shortly after, Zaniol scored Lincoln’s second run when he scored from third after an error at third base.
Nonetheless, Toll Gate tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
First, sophomore shortstop AJ Ucci hit an RBI single. Then Langevin launched a sacrifice fly to right and scored Ucci to put the Titans up 5-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, Toll Gate added on five more runs. With runners in scoring position, Lincoln elected to intentionally walk Ucci to load the bases. Palmiotti came up to bat next and made Lincoln pay when he hit an RBI single. During that same play, Toll Gate had two runners near the third base bag which caused Lincoln to throw over to second which resulted in an error, allowing both runners to score and give Toll Gate an 8-2 lead. Then with the bases reloaded, Ekroth hit a sacrifice fly to score Palmiotti making it 9-2. Finally, on back-to-back passed balls, Toll Gate’s Ryan Carlson trotted in from third and gave Toll Gate a 10-2 advantage.
In the top of the sixth, Lincoln senior Stephen Andrews blasted a one-out double to right-center. Zaniol then sent a single down the third base line and scored Andrews, pulling the Lions seven at 10-3.
It was a rare blowout win for Toll Gate, who improves to 3-14 in Division I on the season.
“We came out loose and the kids had fun and when we do that, we play well,” Durand said. “Absolutely a whole team effort. The younger guys picked up the seniors and the seniors set the tone.”
Toll Gate heads to Johnston next Wednesday for its final game of the season.
“If we can play with the same mentality that we played with today, we’ll be good to go,” Durand said.
Lincoln plays its last game today at Central.