WILTON – Andrew Oliver opened the bottom of the sixth with a little bit of trouble.
The Newmarket High School pitcher put two Wilton-Lyndeborough runners on and an error allowed the Warriors to cut the Mules’ lead to one.
But with no outs, and runners on second and third, Oliver battled back, getting back-to-back strikeouts before inducing a fly out to end the inning and preserve the Mules’ 3-2 road win Wednesday over the Warriors.
Oliver got the win by going the distance, striking out 12 while allowing one earned run on three hits and five walks. Sam Morin provided the offense for Newmarket (8-3 in Division IV), driving in two runs on a first-inning single, and Sean Fleming went 3 for 4 and scored a run.
“It’s a huge win for us because they’re a really good team,” Newmarket coach Stan Jurkoic said. “Make a road trip, play a good game and come out on top, we’re all psyched about it.
“I can’t say enough about how (Oliver) pitched (Wednesday). He’s a good kid and a good athlete, but he put it all together. He had his control, his slider was really nasty and he was around the plate.”
Tony Graziano took the loss for WLC (7-2), allowing two earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in five innings. Patrick Martin pitched two innings of relief, striking out five and giving up three hits.
Martin worked out of a jam in both the sixth and the seventh by striking out two batters in a row with runners in scoring position.
“Pat (Martin) did a great job shutting them down when they had a chance to extend the lead,” Paul Trombley said. “Our pitching was very good. You give up three runs a game, you should be able to win. We hung around, we made some plays.”
The Warriors put runners on through the first four innings, thanks to four walks, but couldn’t get a hit against Oliver. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that WLC finally broke through.
Back-to-back singles by Brendon Hussey and Jonathan Schultz ended the no-hitter. Oliver struck out Kyle Jennings for the second out, but Willie Trombley singled to right field to score Hussey, cutting Newmarket’s lead to 3-1.
But that was all for the Warriors, as Oliver struck out Cam Holt to end the inning.
Then came the sixth. Oliver hit Martin and walked Justin Thibault before Graziano hit a ground ball to second baseman Jeff Carmichael. His throw to second sailed into left field, and Martin came around to score and Thibault advanced to third.
During Thibault’s at bat, Jurkoic went to the mound to talk to Oliver, but the thought of pulling his starter wasn’t on his mind.
“His pitch count was low enough for him and he was right around the plate the whole time,” Jurkoic said. “When he missed it wasn’t by much. I said don’t worry, just put it more over the plate and challenge them. Make them put it in play, and that’s what he did, he went after them.”
Oliver struck out Kyle Pratt and Hussey before getting Schultz to fly out to center field to end the inning.
“I found my groove and started throwing strikes again,” Oliver said. “My slider was working really well. It was good, I think because it’s humid out. I felt like I threw harder in the seventh inning.”
The Mules staked Oliver to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, with all the damage coming with two outs. Fleming, Evan Botterman and Morin hit back-to-back-to-back singles, with Morin’s hit driving in Fleming and Botterman.
Newmarket got another run in the fourth without a hit, as Carmichael reached on a two-base error by Jennings and went to third on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly by Nick Chapman brought in Carmichael to make it 3-0.
The Warriors had two runners on with no outs in the second, but Thibault was picked off second and Oliver struck out Pratt and Hussey to end the inning. WLC also had a runner picked off second in the third inning.
“Base running was horrible,” Trombley said. “We should have hit the ball better. We couldn’t put together hits, we left runners stranded.
“They gave themselves a chance, but just didn’t capitalize on it. That’s not the way we’ve been playing.”