Just call it the new math of the Riverhead High School baseball team.
Three runs allowed by the Blue Waves in three games equals a sweep of Copiague High School.
Riverhead accomplished that on Monday, recording a 6-2 victory in the Suffolk County League IV home game that had been washed out on Saturday.
The Blue Waves (3-3 League IV, 4-4 overall), who had been swept by West Babylon in their previous three-game series, have won four consecutive games entering this week’s series against Half Hollow Hills West.
“We’re hot,” coach Rob Maccone said. “The pitching has been great.”
On April 18, Jaime Fox began the recent streak by striking out six and surrendering only three hits over 6 1/3 innings in a 4-0 win over Copiague (1-8, 1-8). Tyler Carroll relieved with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and retired the final two batters.
Two days later, Glenn Patriss gave up one earned run in 5 2/3 innings before Tim Clement finished up en route to a 4-1 triumph.
Then came Gabe Rice’s complete-game effort on Monday, as he struck out 11 and allowed six hits.
Maccone called it “probably his best performance. He threw a complete game for us, which was huge.”
The coach told Rice: “You don’t know how important it was for you to finish that game. We didn’t have to use anyone in the bullpen.”
And for good reason.
“We have three more games this week, so it’s nice to know I have the entire bullpen,” Maccone said. “Gabe can come back in relief on Friday. He’s not going to start. He threw 100 pitches. He can give me an inning or two on Friday.”
While Rice surrendered two home runs — both solo shots — Maccone was encouraged the way the senior right-hander came back to retire the next batter after each shot. “That makes you feel a little bit better,” he said.
It took a while for the Blue Waves to solve Anthony Giordano, who took a perfect game into the fourth inning Monday.
“We were concerned, but we weren’t driving the ball at all in the first three innings,” Maccone said. “That gets you a little nervous. You feel a little bit more comfortable because Gabe is on the mound. He was matching zeros for zeros. If you’re down 3-0 or 4-0 and the guy has a perfect game, you’re a little nervous.”
The Blue Waves broke through with four runs in the fourth. They loaded the bases on an error and two singles before Joe Prete’s two-run double, Rob Pisano’s sacrifice fly and James Porco’s RBI single.
Despite the wins, Riverhead did not hit well in the first two games of the series.
“We took advantage of their mistakes,” Maccone said. “We scored on wild pitches or passed balls and took extra bases that way. Today we hit and that’s a big plus.”
So has been the defense.
“The pitching has been good and the defense has been good,’ he said. “That goes hand in hand. We didn’t make any errors today. In the other two games against Copiague we might have one or two, tops. The pitchers feel comfortable if the players are making plays behind them. He feels he doesn’t have to strike out everybody and lets them put it into play. That helps their confidence a lot.”
To reach the playoffs, Maccone figured the team needed to win seven of its final 12 games.
“After the West Bab series, our goal was to get to 3-3,” he said. “We didn’t think we were going to do it the way we did it. I thought we were going to take at least one from West Bab and hopefully take two from Copiague. We’re hot now. Hopefully this thing will build and get us ready to go.”
Maccone can only hope that the Riverhead baseball math works out.