Winkle dive2PLYMOUTH — It was a mountain too big to climb as Plymouth’s Pilgrims took a heavy blow in the first two innings and could never really recover as Northridge took an 8-2 win at Bill Nixon Field.

“They are always a team that can hit,” said Plymouth coach Ryan Wolfe. “Last year they could hit but at times they had trouble throwing strikes and that kept people in some ball games with them but when they throw strikes, and they can hit the way they do, and they get a lead like that it’s really hard to come back from. We had some errors and things that gave them some bases early on but for the most part they just hit the ball.”
The Raiders came out swinging in the first taking advantage of some uncharacteristic wildness from Plymouth starter Tim Tremaine to turn a lead off walk and hit batter into two quick runs. In the second, five hits and three errors turned into four runs and a couple more errors and stolen bases turned into two insurance runs in the fourth.
Meanwhile Northridge starter Hayden Nickel was sailing with just a few over 70 pitches in scattering seven hits and — along with his defense — killing every possible Plymouth rally.
Tremaine was hit in the foot with a line drive in the fourth and was forced to leave but reliever Joe Barron came on and did exactly what he needed to do — hold them.
Barron went four innings without surrendering a run and had only two baserunners, a fifth inning single and a sixth inning walk.
“He did a great job,” said Wolfe. “He was right around the plate with both pitches and gave us a chance. For him to do that here to build some confidence going into the latter part of the season is good.”
Plymouth missed an excellent opportunity in the fourth with the bases loaded and nobody out but a great play by Becker in the hole at shortstop on what looked like a sure hit turned into the third out.
“When you get down early it’s unlikely you can get them all back in one inning you just have to chip away and get a few and get a big hit,” said Wolfe “They made some plays. (Ben Becker) had some great plays at shortstop. We had some good at bats and we didn’t find any holes.”
“We’ve done a good job this year of getting the ball in play this year,” he said. “But getting down that big that early was just too much to come back from.”
Plymouth finally plated two in the fifth on four straight singles and RBIs by Jake Deacon and Cole Filson, but couldn’t push across any more.
“It’s at that point in the year where we still have a lot of season left,” said Wolfe. “If you have a bad game you have to leave it behind. If you have a good game you have to leave it behind because tonight is a different night.
“For the next two weeks we are in the grind of our schedule and that’s what you have to do, keep grinding it out,” he said. “You have to get back to the things you know you should be doing, find something to bring to the ball park the next day and keep going.”
Plymouth moves to 11-7 and 6-4 in NLC play. Northridge is 13-6 and now 8-2 in conference play. The Pilgrims are in action again tonight at Bill Nixon field against Goshen.
at Bill Nixon Field
Northridge 2 4 0 2 0 0 0 8-10-2
Plymouth 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2-7-4
WP — Nickell (4-1). LP — Tremaine (4-1). 2B — Logan (N), Gilbert (N).