Tech baseball sees late lead slip away in loss to Essex Tech

Jhoan Ortega pitches for Lynn Tech. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — The Lynn Tech baseball team looked like it was on its way to victory in its season opener Thursday at Fraser Field, but a sour sixth inning saw it all slip away in a 6-5 loss to Commonwealth Athletic Conference opponent Essex Tech.

“We had a lot of good moments in this game,” said Tech coach Rich Germano. “The guys hit well, they ran the bases well and all around I think I’m happy where we are this early in the season. At the same time, we made some mistakes that really cost us, and we have to clean that stuff up.”

Despite the loss, the Tigers got a solid pitching performance from Jhoan Ortega, who went all seven innings and allowed six runs on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

“I think Jhoan pitched an unbelievable game,” said Germano. “Unfortunately we made a couple of big errors in the field that cost us a game that we probably should’ve won.”

Offensively, Tech was led by Kenny Moore (1-for-4, two RBI). Ortega (0-for-3), Jared Moore (2-for-4) and Dominic Giordano (0-for-2) also had a RBI each.

Tech jumped on the board first, notching a run in the bottom of the first inning. After Jared Moore walked, stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball, Ortega stepped into the box and hit a long fly ball to center field, deep enough to bring the run home and make it  a 1-0 Tigers edge.

Tech extended its lead in the bottom of the second. The Tigers loaded up the bases with no outs before Giordano earned a RBI walk to make it 2-0. Next up was Jared Moore, who knocked a RBI single into center field to put the Tigers up 3-0. The inning had a chance to be a lot more damaging than that, but Tech stranded the bases loaded after three straight outs. And the missed opportunity came back to haunt the Tigers.

Essex Tech started climbing back into it in the top of the fourth. After getting runners to first and third, the Hawks scored their first run after a successful double steal and made it 3-1. One batter later, a second Essex Tech run came home after a Tech error and made the score 3-2.

The Tigers got one run back in the bottom of the fifth after some great baserunning by Ortega. After drawing a walk and stealing second, Ortega got into scoring position with one out. Kenny Moore stepped in and dropped down a bunt for the sacrifice, but Ortega had already started stealing third base. That meant Ortega had a head start on the play, and he rounded third and came all the way around to make it 4-2 thanks to his heads-up baserunning.

But then came the top of the sixth. Essex Tech quickly put runners on second and third with no outs, cutting it to 4-3 after a RBI groundout. Over the next three hitters, the Hawks notched two RBI hits and scored on an error, quickly turning the tide and taking a 6-4 lead.

The Tigers got one run back in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI single from Kenny Moore, but that was as close as they would get in the loss.

Next up for Tech (0-1) is a home-and-home against Matignon, with a road game Saturday and a home game Monday.

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