FARNHAM PARK, Bucks. – Alex Wilson went the distance in a 13-3 loss to the University of East Anglia, and Joe Proffitt broke up a no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth on the second day for Durham’s second team at the National University Baseball Championships. The three runs tied a season-high for Durham’s Second Team, and aside from a rough first frame, played well against the experienced blue-and-gold.
Durham threatened in the first frame, putting two runners on board on a dropped third strike and an eight-pitch walk by the battling Harry Mayes. Blue Sox starter Fopp got out of the jam with a strikeout on a full count on Ollie Clawson, sending the game to the bottom of the first.
Wilson was on the mound for his first ever pitching performance, and was promptly greeted with a booming double to centre by UEA’s Wotton, who had reached base three times against Durham’s first team a day before. Wilson looked to quickly bounce back as the next batter grounded out, but the ball was muffed at first, and the Sox were on the board.
The game unravelled quickly from there, as the next three batters walked, before Wilson settled in and got another grounder. Durham’s hurler was the recipient of bad luck, and ball was missed on the left side, moving the score to 3-0. Another walk would load the bases, and the runners would move around on wild pitches until it looked like Wilson would finally get an out as he went low in the zone to ring up the eighth hitter.
It was not to be, however, as swinging strike bounced in the dirt and the batter reached first. Wilson shook off the bad luck and buckled down for a second strikeout. After another walk, a grounder would plate the inning’s seventh run, and via mercy rule the frame was called.
Fopp looked in command in the second, sending down the 6-7-8 hitters in a row, whiffing a pair. Wilson took the rubber once more, already having thrown around 50 pitches in the first.
UEA started with a safety, and the Blue Sox’ cleanup hitter stroked a line drive to left that dropped just in front of Cameron Richardson. The first-year from Wakefield quickly scooped up the ball and threw into second, nailing the runner by a half-step on a nice catch by Clawson for the unusual 7-4 forceout.
Wilson’s poor luck continued, as the next batter lofted a high fly to left, which dropped in for a two-base error and another run. The next batter, Tjia, ripped a two-bagger to the wall in left, and the score moved to 9-0. A RBI-single moved the margin to double digits, but Wilson looked much more comfortable in eliciting a weak grounder in front of the rubber and getting another nice play from Richardson on a liner to left to get out of the inning.
A walk and a hit-by-pitch put two runners on with one out in the third, but Fopp got out of the jam with ease, sending down Durham’s three and four hitters looking.
The Palatinate’s starter continued his solid pitching in the fourth, allowing a single to Fopp, who came around to score on a grounder after an infield hit. A Tjia double would bring home the game’s eleventh run, but Wilson got the final out of the inning looking on a three-pitch K.
The black-and-purple finally broke through against Fopp in the fourth, despite the first two batters going down on strikes. Richardson worked a free pass, and Nico Trompetas trotted to first after five pitches, before Proffitt stepped to the dish and scorched a one-base hit to left that plated Richardson.
Proffitt followed the big RBI by swiping second, and Durham suddenly had two runners in scoring position. Fopp looked rattled, hurling a pitch in the dirt which Trompetas read immediately, scampering home despite the protestations of coach Amy Trask. Durham’s second run of the frame got its bench going, and when Fopp threw wildly again, Proffitt raced home for another run, narrowly beating the tag.
Harry Winter shook off the distractions and took two more balls, earning his freebie and keeping the inning alive. Trask, unable to field due to a torn ACL, stepped to the dish, and took two balls as Winter took theft of second. Finally seeing a strike, Trask ripped a ball to the left side, but a great play by the leaping Wotton spelled the end of the rally.
Wilson continued his rapid improvement in the bottom of the frame, allowing only an unearned run and finished the game having thrown a gutsy more-than-100 pitches. In total, he went 3 2/3 innings, giving up 13 runs, though only three were earned. Wilson (0-1) surrendered nine hits and five walks, striking out three.
Lee, moving over from first base for the fifth, putting any hopes of a comeback to rest with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. Fopp earned the victory with four innings of three-run ball, striking out nine, with at least a pair in every inning. He gave up only one hit, but issuing five free passes. Fopp joined Tjia with a hitting brace, each scoring twice.
Durham’s second team (0-3) returned to action immediately after the contest at Spring Championships, facing powerful Leeds Beckett in the final game of the day.