Photo Courtesy of George Napolitano
August, 31 -- Lowell, MA -- The Brooklyn Cyclones (41-29) held onto their lead in the Wild Card on Wednesday night, defeating the Lowell Spinners (28-40) by a score of 4-1. With Williamsport’s 6-2 win over Mahoning Valley tonight, Brooklyn couldn’t pick up a game in the Wild Card, but maintained their .003 percentage point lead over the CrossCutters. The Wild Card is the only route to the post-season for the Cyclones as the Staten Island Yankees clinched the McNamara Division tonight with a 3-2 win over Vermont. The Auburn Doubledays, leaders of the Pickney Division, lost 3-2 to see their lead shrink to 1.0 game over the Williamsport. If Auburn were thrust into the Wild Card race, they would be 1.0 game up on the Cyclones .
The Cyclones pitching staff was solid, combining for eight strikeouts and allowing just eight base runners all game. Lowell drew first blood in the second inning, but was held in check for the remainder of the game. Starter Jeff Walters (4-6, 3.32) picked up the win after tossing 5.0 innings of one-run ball and striking out five.
After Jose Garcia walked with one out in the bottom of the second, he stole second and third and came into score on a two-out single to put the Spinners up 1-0. However, it proved to be the only inning in which Lowell held a lead.
Brooklyn answered right back in the top of the third. With two outs, Richard Lucas doubled to plate Charley Thurber, who reached base on a line drive single two batters earlier. Cole Frenzel followed up Lucas with a walk to put runners on the corners, but an inning-ending strikeout of Travis Taijeron stranded the two runners.
However, Taijeron bounced back in the top of the fifth, capping off a three-run rally with a single. The rally was started by NYPL on-base percentage leader, Danny Muno, who led off the inning with a single to left field. Thurber promptly broke the 1-1 tie, plating Muno on a booming double to center field. With one out, Lucas picked up his second double of the night to plate Thurber and extend the lead to two runs. After Lucas advanced to third base on a wild pitch, he was plated on a sac fly by with Cole Frenzel to put the Cyclones up 4-1. Taijeron singled to keep the chain moving, but was left stranded.
In his last inning of work, Walters retired the first two Spinners to extend his streak of retired batters to nine. The righthander had carried the streak over from the bottom of the second. A two-out single ended the streak, but Walters promptly induced a strikeout to avoid any damage.
Brooklyn could not extend their 4-1 lead in the sixth, seventh, or eighth innings, but lefthanders Orlando Tovar and T.J. Chism combined to pitch 3.0 innings of shut-out ball to protect the three-run lead.
It was Chism who closed out the 4-1 win in the bottom of the ninth. It was the fifth save for the lefty, who now boasts a 1.19 ERA.
The Cyclones will take on the Spinners in the series finale tomorrow, Thursday, September 1 at 7:05. LHP Chris Hilliard (3-1, 3.72) will take the hill for Brooklyn. The team will take on the Staten Island Yankees in the return to MCU Park on Friday, September 2 at 7:00 p.m. After the first game of the last series of the regular season, there will be fireworks. It will also be the last show of the summer. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 718-507-TIXX, visiting the MCU Park box office, or logging onto BrooklynCyclones.com.
Written by Ryan Gilbert