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Farmington fends off Birmingham Groves behind Finn's strong pitching performance WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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FARMINGTON — One day after a subpar defensive performance sunk its chances in the OAA White division opener, Farmington rebounded with a 4-2 victory Tuesday to even up the week’s three-game series against Birmingham Groves at a game apiece.

Farmington received strong pitching from junior Collin Finn, who lasted six and one-third innings, surrendering just two runs, before giving way to senior Alex Manasa to record the final two outs.

The right-handed Finn did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and posted four clean 1-2-3 innings, retiring nine straight batters at one point.

“He mixed his pitches up a little bit. I think that’s key for any pitcher, but especially for him. He’s got a really nice changeup when he’s on his game,” Farmington coach Pete Finn said of his son, Collin. “He has a sneaky fastball. Groves is a good hitting team, so you have to keep them off balance.”

The Farmington offense produced single runs in three of the first four innings to establish a 3-0 lead.

A first-inning sacrifice fly by Dan Carty produced the game’s first run.

In the third, Groves’ right fielder John Kowalchuk threw out a runner at home plate, but Farmington’s Artie Bentley followed it up with a two-out single that made it 2-0.

Another two-out hit, this time a triple by the Farmington leadoff hitter, Manasa, brought home another runner in the bottom of the fourth.

Groves was poised for a big inning in the top of the fifth when the first two batters reached safely and were in scoring position with no outs. Finn settled in after a mound visit, however, limiting the damage by keeping the ball in the infield and yielding just two runs on groundouts.

Farmington tacked on an important insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with Matt Lane picking up an RBI single.

“We played a lot better defensively and we pitched better,” Finn said in comparison to Monday’s 6-5 loss. “I felt like we were ahead of the game instead of playing like we were trying to catch up, and not just in the score. We were chasing our tail yesterday.

“I liked that we battled with two strikes. We did not bunt the ball well, but we did hit-and-run a couple times pretty decent. We weren’t really good when the count was to our advantage. We’ll have to work on what our hitters are looking for as they step to the plate, but we battled with two strikes, which is always huge.”

Farmington improved to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in the OAA White. Groves is 5-2 (1-1) with the rubber match of the series set for Thursday in Birmingham.

“Today, we just didn’t get the job done. With our energy level on the bench, it seemed like we were just going through the motions,” first-year Groves coach Shawn Morrison said. “We had a great start on the mound by Andrew Martin, but outside of that, not much. Yesterday we strung together a lot more hits and were producing runs.

“I do think that we had some fantastic (defensive) plays at times, but you have to be able to control the things you can. There are so many things in baseball that are outside of your control. Energy is one of those things and you have to bring it day in and day out.”

Last Updated: 4/19/2016 7:45:49 PM EST


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