CYCLONES FALL SHORT ON INDEPENDENCE DAY; 3-2
It was a special Independence Day at MCU Park this year, for the second weekend in a row; Mets pitcher Dillon Gee made a rehab start with his former team, the Brooklyn Cyclones. This time, Gee was matched up against the Aberdeen IronBirds.
Despite a strong effort from Cyclones pitchers, the Aberdeen bats got the best of reliever Josh Prevost, to tack on two late runs that would ultimately give them a 3-1 victory.
Gee wasted no time on the mound in the first inning, only needing 12 pitches to get through the first three Aberdeen batters. After a failed bunt attempt from the leadoff hitter Jay Gonzalez, Gee mowed down the two remaining IronBirds batters.
After Amed Rosario grounded into a double play, Jhoan Ureña who has been red-hot at the plate recently came up and hit a hard grounder into the gap between Aberdeen’s shortstop and third baseman to extend his streak to 12 games, which leads the New York-Penn League.
Ureña would advance to third on a stolen base and error on the catcher, but after a walk from Michael Katz and line drive out by Michael Bernal, the Cyclones would head back onto the field without getting a run across.
Gee’s positive momentum from the first inning carried over into the second inning, but only for one batter. After striking out the leadoff man, Gee would walk the next batter, fortunately for him he would be bailed out by his catcher Tomas Nido who had a nice throw to second to get the attempted base stealer.
Unfortunately, during the same at-bat, Gee would give up a long fly ball to Jamill Moquete, who was driven in during the next at-bat by Federico Castagnini on a sharp line drive up the middle.
In the bottom of the third, the IronBirds went to a new pitcher, righty Josh Walker. Brooklyn newcomer Will Fulmer was able to reach base by working a walk. After consecutive strikeouts, it seemed as if Fulmer’s walk would be for nothing, but the a line drive that hugged the left field foul line by Ureña would drive Fulmer all the way in from first to tie the game.
In the top of the fourth, Gee found himself in a bit of a jam following a leadoff throwing error by Rosario that send the batter, Alex Murphy to second base. Gee was able to get a ground out for the first out of the inning and then utilized his curveball to strikeout the next two batters to get out of the inning unscathed.
In the top of the fifth, Gee showed his major league talent, getting two first-pitch outs and then only needing three pitches to strike out Jay Gonzalez and end the inning.
During the bottom half of the inning, Aberdeen switched things up, bringing in a southpaw, Bennett Parry in relief. Despite giving up a two-out base hit to Brooklyn center fielder Tucker Tharp, Parry would get out of the inning with ease.
In his final inning of work, Gee struck out another two batters while also picking up a ground out, only needing another 11 pitches to get out of the inning. Through six full innings of work, Gee only allowed one run on three hits, striking out 10 batters.
Following the strong start from Gee, Tom Gamboa called on the right-handed Seton Hall University product, and Big East Pitcher of the Year, Josh Prevost. Just as Gee did to start the game, Prevost breezed through his first inning of relief, getting a 1-2-3 inning.
Despite a solid first inning, Prevost had a tough top of the eighth inning, giving up a leadoff double to Steve Wilkerson after Tharp was unable to make a diving play in shallow centerfield. Two batters later, Jay Gonzalez would chop a single over Rosario’s head to drive in the run.
During the next at-bat, Gonzalez broke for second, and a poor throw by Nido would get away from Rosario trying to cover second, sending Gonzalez to third and setting up Oswill Lartiguez who would ground out and drive in the second run of the inning to give Aberdeen a 3-1 lead.
With Prevost’s night over after two innings, Edioglis Villasmil entered the game to pitch the top of the ninth. After consecutive singles by Aberdeen, Jhoan Ureña was able to handle a hard hit ground ball, stepping on third and firing towards second to get a double play and take some weight off of Villasmil’s shoulders. The next at-bat, Ureña came through for Villasmil once more, catching a line drive to end the inning.
Michael Katz led off the bottom of the ninth for Brooklyn and popped out in foul territory after hitting the ball softly off the end of the bat. Michael Bernal followed Katz, and was able to get on base with a single. After having a rough night at the plate, Gamboa pulled Tyler Moore and brought in Jeff Diehl as a pinch hitter. On a 1-0 pitch, Diehl ripped a ball to left that would hit off the wall, getting in for a double.
The hit by Diehl would bring up Tomas Nido with runners in scoring position and only one out. Unlike the last time he was in a similar situation, Nido would ground out, but also drive in a run. Unfortunately, the next hitter, Joe Tuschak, would fly out to left field after swinging at the first pitch, ending the Cyclones comeback hopes.
On Sunday, the Cyclones will continue their series against the IronBirds, and it will be a special night at MCU Park, as the team will be hosting a “Salute to Seinfeld Night.” Limited tickets will be put on sale for Sunday’s game after 5 PM; all tickets put on sale will cost just $5. On Monday night, the Cyclones will have their first of consecutive doubleheaders against the Hudson Valley Renegades. Monday night will begin at 6:05 PM with a continuation of Wednesday night’s suspended game, followed by a seven-inning game. To purchase tickets for any Cyclones games, visit the box office at MCU Park, call 718-507-TIXX, or log onto BrooklynCyclones.com.