(photo courtesy of George Napolitano)
July 19th -- Aberdeen, MD -- The Brooklyn Cyclones (17-14) defeated the Aberdeen Ironbirds (9-23) by a score of 12-5 on Tuesday night at Ripken Stadium. The Cyclones are now 6-1 against the IronBirds this season. Todd Weldon (2-0, 1.86 ERA) earned the win in relief for the Cyclones after starter Eduardo Aldama was touched up for four runs on nine stole bases in 4.0 innings. Aberdeen’s starter, Jake Cowan (0-4, 4.46), cruised through the first 4.0 innings, but was knocked around in the fifth and took the loss. Sloppy play by the IronBirds combined with timely hitting by Javier Rodriguez and Richard Lucas allowed the Cyclones to score 12 runs on 13 hits.
With two outs in the top of the first, Rodriguez picked up his 11th double of the season to tie for the NYPL-lead in two-baggers, but he was left stranded.
Although the IronBirds had just 28 stolen bases as a team coming into today (10th in the NYPL), they managed to swipe four bases in the bottom of the frame en route to pulling ahead 2-0. Aldama, who entered tonight’s game with a 1.93 ERA, had yet to allow a run in the first inning in any of his previous starts this season.
Aberdeen was back at their new-found base-thieving ways in the second inning. With runners on the corners and two outs, the IronBirds unexpectedly executed a double-steal of second and home to take a 3-0 lead. What makes this double-thievery so surprising is that both Kyle Hoppy, who stole home, and Martin Serrata, who swiped second, did not pick up their first stolen bases of the season until yesterday vs. Vermont.
After Sammie Starr drew a walk, the IronBirds shocked the Cyclones again when Starr and Serrata executed Aberdeen’s third double-steal of the game. Starr’s stolen base was his second of the game as he was one of four IronBirds to swipe a base in the first inning. Serratta’s steal was also his second of the game. However, neither runner could be brought around to score.
Stunned, but far from waving the white flag, Brooklyn gave Aberdeen a taste of their own medicine in the top of the third with a stolen base by Brandon Brown. The second baseman was then brought around to score on a triple by Cole Frenzel – his first as a professional.
However, the IronBirds used a trio of singles to get that run back in the bottom of the frame.
Aldama held the opposition scoreless in the fourth, but not before Aberdeen picked up their ninth stolen base of the game. Glynn Davis, who committed the thievery, became the third IronBird of the game to collect two stolen bases.
Trailing Aberdeen, 4-1, a dormant Brooklyn offense exploded for a five-run fifth inning to take a 6-4 lead. With no outs, Danny Muno plated the first run of the inning on a bases-loaded walk. The IronBirds promptly turned a 5-1-3 groundball-double play in an attempt to kill the rally, but the Cyclones were undeterred. Javier Rodriguez jump-started the two-out rally with a base-clearing single, tying the game at 4-4.
Brooklyn then took advantage of Aberdeen’s sloppy play to put two runners in scoring position. After Rodriguez advanced to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball, Lucas drew a walk and then advanced to second on Cowan’s second wild pitch of the inning. Another mishap by the IronBirds gave the Cyclones a 5-4 lead. Charley Thurber’s groundball was botched by the first baseman, allowing J-Rod to score. Cowan was removed immediately after, but his replacement promptly served-up a line drive single to Harrison, which plated Lucas.
Righthander Todd Weldon, who started the bottom of the frame, allowed Aberdeen to cut the lead to one, but tossed a scoreless sixth inning to keep the score at 6-5.
Brooklyn teed-off on Aberdeen’s bullpen in the seventh inning. Leading off with three straight base hits – two singles and an opposite-field RBI-double by Lucas – Brooklyn extended their lead to two runs. With Cyclones on second and third, the IronBirds quickly induced two groundouts, but Travis Taijeron kept the rally alive with a two-RBI triple over the center fielder’s head.
Ahead 9-5, the Cyclones added three more runs in the top of the eighth on more sloppy play by the Iron Birds. After driving in B.Brown on a line drive single, Muno advanced to second on a passed ball by catcher Austin Goolsby, his second on the night. With one out in the inning, Muno came all the way around from second to score on a throwing error by the third baseman. Rodriguez, who rolled-over to the third baseman, reached safely on the play. After Thurber was plunked to keep the inning alive, Harrison made the Ironbirds pay for their mistake by plating Rodriguez on a line drive single.
Leading by seven runs heading into the bottom of the eighth, former Oklahoma Sooner, Tyson Seng was brought on to pitch. Seng racked up three strikeouts en route to tossing scoreless eighth and ninth innings, securing the 12-5 victory.
The Cyclones return to action tomorrow, July 20, at 7:05 p.m. The team returns home on Thursday, July 21, at 7 p.m. It will be Jersday Thursday and the first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive the Verizon 4G Jersey. Everyone will also be invited to run the bases at the conclusion of the game. Tickets can still be purchased by calling 718-507-TIXX, visiting the MCU Park box office, or logging onto BrooklynCyclones.com.
-- Ryan Gilbert