GROTON — For the third time in two days, and just the fifth time all season, the Mystic Schooners lost a game in front of their home crowd, falling to the first-place Plymouth Pilgrims 4-3 at Fitch High School Thursday night.
In a summer that has been the team’s most successful since moving to Mystic in 2011, the Pilgrims have been the one team that has had the Schooners’ number, winning the season series 5-1.
The Pilgrims played effective small ball to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the New England Collegiate Baseball League game. Leadoff hitter Mike Martin reached on an infield single, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a groundout by Tom Roulis.
Plymouth made it 2-0 in the fourth with three straight singles, but besides those two runs Mystic starter Brendan Doonan was great.
Making his first start of the summer, Doonan tossed five innings and allowed just the two runs and four hits while striking out six. He did not surrender a walk and put the Schooners in a position to win, trailing 2-1, when he made his exit.
The score remained the same until Plymouth’s MVP candidate Vin Guglietti smashed a two-run homer in the sixth to make it 4-1. The homer would prove to be the difference in the game.
In the bottom half of the sixth, Mystic’s Brad Zunica clubbed a two-run blast of his own to take the league lead with nine including five in the last three days. The rocket over the right-center field fence made it a 4-3 game, but that was as close as the Schooners would get.
Mystic’s hitters were retired in order in six different innings, and held to just four hits and two walks by Andrew Grant. He tossed eight sparkling innings, striking out 10 and earning his third victory of the summer.