GLOUCESTER— It's pretty safe to say Nick Mennino has the Gloucester baseball team's number. The Swampscott left handed pitcher beat the Fishermen once in each of the last three seasons dating back to his Sophomore year, and on Monday he beat Gloucester for the second time this season in the Big Blue's 8-2 win at Nate Ross Field.
Mennino followed up a complete game shutout against Gloucester earlier this season by going 6 1/3 on Monday allowing two runs on just five hits. When the going got tough for Mennino he was at his best as Gloucester (10-8) was just 1-for-8 on the afternoon with runners on base.
"Nick was a little wild today but he buckled down and got important outs when he needed to," Swampscott head coach TJ Baril said. "He used his heavy fastball all over the strike zone today."
Gloucester head coach Joe Orlando was also quick to credit the Big Blue south paw.
"He's had our number for a few years now," Orlando said. "We need to get better in every facet of the game. (Swampscott) is a very good and experienced team and we played average baseball today. Average baseball is not going to get you a win against a team like Swampscott."
While Swampscott was timely, scoring a run in six of seven innings and putting a runner in scoring position every inning, the Fishermen were not struggling with men on base and making two key errors that both led to Swampscott runs. The Fishermen also made a pair of outs on the base baths, one squashing a potential rally in the third inning.
With Swampscott (13-5) leading 2-0 in the third inning, the Fishermen picked up their only two runs of the game when Alex Webb singled down the right field line scoring pinch runner Lenny Taormina and Kyle Lucido who reached on a walk to tie the game at 2-2.
Swampscott, however, came right back with a run of its own in the top of the fourth on a Trevor Massey sacrifice fly to take the lead for good.
"That was the turning point for us," Orlando said. "We fought and fought to tie the score against a good pitcher and then we give it up the next inning and we're playing catch up again."
Mennino went on to help himself out in the fifth with a solo shot to left field extending Swampscott's lead to 4-2. He followed up the round tripper with some clutch pitching getting out of a second and third with one out jam in the bottom of the fourth and a two on and nobody out jam in the fifth to preserve the lead.
Senior first baseman Mike Walsh put the contest away in the top half of the sixth with a three run shot to left making it 7-2.
"Nick made some big pitches in those innings after hitting the home run. (Gloucester) threatened with some nice at bats but getting those outs with men on base was key for us," Baril said. "And Mike put it away with a big home run. He's been key for us in the middle of the order. When he relaxed at the plate and gets it on the sweet spot the ball flies off his bat."