CUMBERLAND — Through four innings Thursday, the Allegany College and Frederick matchup was shaping up to be a thriller.
Trojans starter Garrett Pullium was hitting his spots and letting the defense play behind him, and lefty slugger Gage Shaffer had already belted a no-doubter over the right-field wall in the 2-2 draw.
But the would-be barnburner deteriorated with Frederick plating 14 runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh, and Allegany couldn’t keep up to fall by the 10-run rule after the seventh inning, 16-4.
“Obviously, not a great result today, but there were some things we did well against a very good team,” Trojans head coach Mike Carter said. “We think we can compete with a team like that. We just have to get our mindset changed and move forward.
“We need a lot more positive things to happen so we can start feeling good again. We’ve played a lot of games, and we’ve been banged up. There’s been a lot of inconsistencies that keep popping up, and that’s the hump we’ve been hopping over.”
The left-handed Pullium was clinical at the onset.
Pullium was perfect through three, striking out two and inducing seven more fly balls the first time through the lineup.
Meanwhile, Allegany (12-12) fired the first shot on offense when Shaffer crushed a solo moonshot in the bottom of the third to get the Trojans off and running.
Shaffer, a Frankfort graduate, was 1 for 3 with two RBIs, adding another ribbie to his bomb when he notched a sacrifice fly to score Noah Zimmerman in the seventh.
“I thought I was seeing the ball really well today,” Shaffer said. “I didn’t get all the pitches I wanted today, but when I did get them I try to put the barrel on it and make something happen.”
But Frederick made the adjustment. Justin Acal started the fourth with a rope down the left-field line for a double, the first of four Cougar hits in the frame to take the 4-1 lead.
After the Trojans got one back on an RBI groundout by JT Stevenson (Fort Hill), Frederick put up a crooked number in the fifth to go up 7-2.
Pullium finished with a line of five runs, five hits, two walks and two strikeouts in four innings. After tossing three flawless innings, Frederick started teeing off on the southpaw.
“Early in this first half of the season we haven’t been throwing a lot of off-speed stuff and changeups,” Carter said. “We pitched backwards a lot that first time through and had success with it, and it just becomes a timing issue when you come back around again trying to mix it up.
“He did a great job the first three innings of hitting the corners, moving the ball, changing speeds, keeping the ball down. That’s part of what’s been going on. We’re great for a couple innings and all of a sudden, when bad things happen, our wheels start spinning.”
Once Frederick got to the Allegany bullpen, the Cougars saw blood, scoring nine runs in the three innings that followed Pullium’s departure. All-in-all, the Trojans used seven arms, allowing 14 hits and walking eight.
Following a promising start, it was just one of those days for Allegany.
“It’s one of the hardest games in the world to play, and we might be making little mistakes here and there,” Carter said. “That might be because we might be pressing too hard. These guys aren’t going to give up, especially on each other. It’s a good group of guys.”
Eli Lashley and Justin Wobb had the Trojans’ best days at the plate slashing two hits apiece. Wobb was a perfect 2 for 2 with a run, and Lashley went 2 for 4 with a run and a stolen base.
Brendan Brady ended 1 for 4 with a run and two steals, and Wyatt Lepley and Matthew Gonzalez each went 1 for 3.
Frederick starter Max Proctor got the win, allowing five hits for two runs in five innings of work, striking out six with just one free pass.
Offensively for the Cougars, Wyatt Miles was 3 for 5 with two ribbies, Michigan Daub was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run, David Antone was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs and Acal went 2 for 4 with four runs.
Brodey Neveker was only 1 for 4 for Frederick, but his one hit was a three-run bomb during the sixth inning, which put Allegany in a 10-2 hole and gravely damaged any hopes of a rally.
Now, the Trojans turn to a doubleheader at Montgomery on Saturday to try and build some momentum going into the second half of the season. Game one begins at noon.
“It’s a lot of mental stuff, because there is a lot of talent on this team,” Carter said. “We’re going to figure something out. We might be in a situation now where we’re going to need some rest, and we’ve got a lot of games coming up.
“If we can still fight our way into the postseason, then we’ve got as good a chance as anybody else.”