WATERTOWN — In need of a bounce-back win Saturday night, the Watertown Rapids received a boost from roommates Sachin Nambiar and Tony Socci.
Nambiar delivered in a big way with a solid start on the mound, and Socci belted a two-run home run as the Rapids rolled to an 11-5 win over the Adirondack Trail Blazers at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds.
“We’re coming down the stretch here,” Socci said. “We just got through the dog days, we’re just kind of grinding out those wins and losses, and it’s the point of the season where it’s win or go home.”
After dropping a doubleheader at Adirondack on Friday, Watertown (15-21) pulled into a tie with the Trail Blazers (16-22) for third place in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s West Division.
“It was good, after losing to them, it was definitely good to get the momentum back,” Nambiar said. “After dropping two, we just want to make the playoffs and get a good spot, it was a good home win.”
“They’re a good team, they have a hellacious lineup, they hit the ball one through nine,” Watertown coach Mike Wood said of Adirondack. “So we had a good performance from Sachin tonight and that was big. ... He threw really well and was getting ahead of batters.”
Nambiar pitched a season-high seven innings and allowing two earned runs by scattering 10 hits.
“I felt pretty good,” said Nambiar, who threw 77 pitches, according to Wood. “I was rusty a little at the beginning because we started a little bit earlier, so I didn’t get many warmup pitches. So I didn’t feel that good at the beginning, but I settled in.”
Nambiar (2-2), who attends Amherst (Mass.) College, won for the first time since a six-inning decision against Newark on June 6.
“It’s good, I’ve gotten stronger as the summer has gone on,” said Nambiar, who shares a suite with Socci and two other teammates at nearby Jefferson Community College for the season.
“I live with him, I think he’s just phenomenal,” Socci said of Nambiar. “He let up a bunch of hits, but he remained composed the whole time.”
After Nambiar allowed two runs in the top of the fourth inning on a two-run single by Vincent Cimini, his teammates picked him up with two runs in the bottom of the frame, compliments of Socci.
“Tony hit that huge home run,” Nambiar said. “That was good for us, it made me a little more comfortable out there.”
After Emil Matti singled to center field with one out, Socci stepped up and drilled a 2-2 pitch over the left-field wall to tie it, 2-2.
“Absolutely, it’s always good to give your pitcher some support to work with,” said Socci (Fairleigh Dickinson), who homered for the second time in three games, and now leads the team in home runs with five. “I hit a slider. I fouled off a few fastballs, he hung a slider and I just stayed with it.”
“Once Tony hit that home run, it kind of got us going for the rest of the night,” Wood said of Socci, an outfielder who missed some games midway through the season with an arm injury and has played as a designated hitter since.
The Rapids kept up the pressure by generating a five-run inning in the fifth to lead 7-2.
George Rosales hit a leadoff single and later scored as Derek Kasperzyk reached on a fielder’s choice, and Socci pushed home another run when he walked with the bases loaded for a 4-2 edge.
Watertown scored two more runs with some hustle on the basepaths as Adirondack appeared to have Kasperzyk in a rundown between third base and home. But Kasperzyk got past the third baseman, dove back to third and both him and Emil Matti scored when the shortstop covering the play threw the ball away.
Vinny DeRubeis followed with an RBI double for a 7-2 lead.
“It’s good, any way you get the team runs, it’s the only thing that matters,” Kasperzyk said.
DeRubeis provided the Rapids with a 9-2 lead with his two-run double in the seventh inning, and Brandon Taylor drove in another run when he reached on an infield single later in the inning.
DeRubeis, who doubled twice, also drove in three runs, while Rosales and Matti each singled twice in Watertown’s nine-hit attack.
The Rapids now have 10 games left in their regular season, including four at home.
After hosting the Capital City Reds of Ottawa in an exhibition game at 5:15 today, Watertown will host league-leading Amsterdam at 6:15 p.m. Monday.
“It’s crunch time,” Nambiar added. “Today was a huge day for our hitters, we had a lot of hits and everyone got at bats. Now we have to keep it going.”
n NOTES: With two stolen bases on the night, Kasperzyk leads the Rapids in this category. ... DeRubeis paces the team in doubles (9). ... Watertown evened the season series with Adirondack at 4-4, with the teams meeting once more in the regular season at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in Watertown. The Rapids, now 6-11 at home, won back-to-back home games for the first time since early in the season.