The Norwich Sea Unicorns dropped a nail bitter to the Brockton Rox 5-4 to close out their weekend road trip. The loss for Norwich was their second in three games and their third one-run loss of the season.

The Sea Unicorns began the scoring in the top of the 2nd to take an early 1-0 lead. Anthony Tirado once again sparked the offense for Norwich with a lead off single to center. Tirado found his way into scoring position on his 5th stolen base of the summer. A Christian Stratis flyout to right field was deep enough to right field to allow the speedy Tirado to tag up and advance to third with one out. Norwich continued to play small ball in the inning as Tirado came home to score on a fielder’s choice ground out to short to grab the early lead.

Brockton responded in the bottom of the inning to even the game at 1. The rally began with a one out double into center field to give the Rox a runner in scoring position. Starter Andrew Rondini was able to strike out the following batter for the second out in the inning but then plunked the next batter he faced to give Brockton runners on first and second with two outs. The Rox were able to then create some confusion on the base paths on a double steal and a throwing error by the Sea Unicorns catcher to throw out the runner stealing second leaked into center field and allowed the lead runner to come home and score to tie the game.

Norwich was able to restore the lead in the top of the 4th by capitalizing on a Brockton throwing error. The hot bat of Anthony Tirado supplied more offense for Norwich smashing a one out double into right field. Brockton looked like they had an opportunity to escape the jam unscathed after retiring the next Sea Unicorn batter on a popout to the shortstop for the second out. Chris Carson rolled a grounder to short on the following play and the Brockton shortstop missed the tag on Tirado who was running on contact and the throw across the diamond to retire Carson at first was over the head of the Rox first basemen, which allowed Tirado to come home to give Norwich a 2-1 lead.

A monster 4-run 6th inning for Brockton broke the game open and quickly changed the complexion of the game. Norwich made their move to the bullpen after a strong performance on the mound by Andrew Rondini who worked 5 innings and allowed 3 hits while punching out 5. The only run that crossed the plate was unearned. Tiernan Powers entered the game for the Sea Unicorns and quickly ran into trouble. An infield single and a pair of walks issued loaded the bases for Brockton with one out. The Rox were able to take advantage with a double down the left field line to take a 3-2 lead. Later in the inning, a wild pitch produced the fourth run of the game for Brockton and a base hit to right with a pair of outs gave the home side a 5-2 lead.

Giovanni Conte silenced the Rox offense the rest of the way to keep Norwich within striking distance. Conte was able to record the final out in the bottom of the 6th and worked another pair of scoreless baseball to give Norwich a chance in the late innings. Ryan Grace was able to provide some late life for Norwich with his 2nd home run of the summer. The 2-run blast for Grace closed the Brockton lead to 1. The Sea Unicorns threatened to tie the game in the 9th inning trailing by a run but stranded the tying runner on third base.

Norwich will return to Dodd Stadium on Tuesday night against the Vermont Lake Monsters. It will be a rematch of last season’s championship when the Lake Monsters come to town for a 2-game set. Tuesday night’s game is $2 hot dog night with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 EST.