WATERTOWN — Having not played a game in what would have been his junior season at the University of Missouri because of injury, Nick Moore is already making up for lost time with the Watertown Rams.
Moore belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Rams to a much-needed 5-3 victory over Adirondack on Friday night at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds to record their first win of the season in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.
“It’s great to get the first one,” said Moore, an infielder who sat out the 2014 campaign as a redshirt at Missouri. “Hopefully we can ride the momentum going forward over the next few games.”
Watertown had dropped its first two games of the season, including a 6-5 loss at Adirondack (1-2) on Wednesday.
This time with the game deadlocked at 3-3 in the ninth, Chris Gaetano of Monmouth reached on a bunt single down the third-base line with one out and, on the next pitch, stole second base with Moore at the plate.
“That was unbelievable, none of that happens without Chris,” Moore said. “That was big with him getting that bunt down and then getting to second base. It makes my job a whole lot easier and I tried to not do too much.”
Moore, a second baseman, then jumped on a 1-1 pitch and sent a shot over the left-field wall to carry the Rams to the win, and fireworks followed.
“That was a hanging breaking ball,” Moore said. “I was lucky, my eyes lit up and I got a good swing. It feels good to get the first one.”
Moore reached base in all five of his at bats, including on an error, on a pair of fielders choice and in the seventh inning on a walk and he was eventually stranded at third base.
“For Nick, I think that was his first hit of the season, so it’s great for him that it was a game-winner,” Watertown coach Paul Alteri said.
Reliever Jon Escobar of Holy Cross pitched a scoreless ninth and was credited with the win for Watertown (2-1).
“We needed it for our confidence,” Alteri said. “We really haven’t been playing well defensively or offensively, we have been pitching OK. Once again we got another great pitching performance, not only from our starter but from our pen as well.”
The Rams were in need of power after they managed only six hits in a 13-3 loss to Elmira in Thursday’s home opener.
Joe Deluca doubled and singled for Watertown and Gaetano singled, including beating out an infield single in the fifth.
Watertown staked starting pitcher Dalton D’Spain to a 3-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run single by Robbie Alessandrine and Gaetano’s RBI flyout.
The Trail Blazers chipped away by scoring twice in the fourth. The first run scored on a botched pickoff attempt in the infield, and Garrett Longhurst followed with an RBI double off the right-field wall.
Adirondack (1-2) tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth as Bryan McGuire walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch by D’Spain.
D’Spain allowed all three runs, three hits and struck out eight in six innings.
Corbin Powers followed with two scoreless innings to set the stage for Escobar in the ninth.
“We finally looked like a team, everybody contributed,” Alteri said. “We made quite a few substitutions in key spots and those guys came through, the bench was ready. Tonight was just a team win.”
Watertown plays at Utica at 7 tonight and will host Albany at 5 p.m. Sunday.