By PAUL GOTHAM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Chad Riorden capped a three-run fourth with a two-out single to center as the Fairport Raiders rallied to defeat the Churchville-Chili Saints, 3-2 in Monroe County League action at Tribune Field, Wednesday.
Riorden plated Nick Turturro with the eventual game-winning run as Fairport shook off some early rust to win their first game after a ten-day layoff.
“Sometimes we just got to get into a groove,” Riorden said. “It took us a little bit to get into it. Then we found it.”
After going without a hit the first time through the order against Churchville-Chili starter, Billy Sanborn, Mike Sabatine singled and stole second to lead the fourth. Two outs later, Tim Gaudioso reached on a hit by pitch, and Turturro delivered with a triple to right field.
“I knew he was coming with the low away fastball for the first pitch throughout most of the game,” Turturro said of Sanborn. “I went up there looking for it and see if I can take it the other way. I had the wind on my side. Took advantage of that and ended up tying the game. Chad came up huge with the go-ahead single after that.”
Sanborn had command early setting down the first seven he faced including three on punch outs. Riorden reached on an error with one out in the third for Fairport’s first baserunner.
“Billy throwing first pitch strikes was huge,” Saints coach Jake Dennstedt said. “He did a great job keeping us in the game. He’s really come a long way on the mound. His senior leadership is something that we really need.”
Fairport leadoff hitter Jake Rugaber knocked Fairport’s first hit with two outs in the third opening the gates for the fourth inning comeback.
“You got adjust to what a pitcher’s throwing,” Fairport coach Brian Reed stated. “You got to make adjustments within a game. He was starting off with strikes. We told the guys to lock into that and get after it if you saw it.”
Riorden came out of the bullpen and earned the two-inning save. The right-hander allowed a leadoff single in the sixth, but after battery mate Chris Rizzolo picked off the runner at first on a missed bunt attempt, Riorden retired the last five he faced.
“You’re going to give up hits,” Riorden noted. “Just got to figure out how to get the next out. Play for your team and then you will win it.”
Riorden struck out two including one looking to end the game and set down two more on routine ground balls.
“He’s a competitor,” Reed stated. “That’s why we got him at the end of games. He can come in and lock down like that.”
Chad Buss picked up the win. The right-hander allowed two runs on six hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked three. After getting the first two batters of the game, Buss surrendered a triple to Sanborn followed by an RBI double from Ben Martin.
Buss was at his best in the third when C-C put runners on second and and third with one out. He retired the next batter looking and got an infield pop up to end the inning.
“Matty didn’t have his best stuff today, but he battled through it all,” Reed noted. “It was a tough performance from him. He knew he he wasn’t at his best, but he was going to battle the whole time.”
Sanborn allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out six, walked none and hit one batter. The right-hander worked out of a jam in the fifth. With runners on second and third and one out, Sanborn got a batter looking and ended the inning getting a lazy fly ball. Sanborn finished with two hits.
Rugaber had two hits for Fairport.
Scott Neu gave C-C a 2-0 lead in the fourth with a two-out RBI single up the middle scoring Colin Coykendall.
Fairport improves to 5-1 with the win. The Raiders host Penfield on Friday. A 4:30 p.m. first pitch is scheduled.
Churchville-Chili falls to 1-2. The Saints play at Gates-Chili also on Friday. Another 4:30 p.m. first pitch is scheduled.