TIGERS POUNCE CYCLONES, 5-1
The Cyclones and the Connecticut Tigers faced off Sunday evening for the second game of an important three-game series. The Cyclones and Tigers entered the game tied for first in the New York-Penn League wild card race, but a good offensive performance from the Tigers would give them lone possession of first.
The Tigers pounced on an early opportunity in the top of the second and took a 1-0 lead. Right fielder, Michael Gerber led off the inning with an opposite field single to right. After a ground out and strike out, the designated hitter, Ben Verlander was able to drive in Gerber from second, with a single of his own to right field.
After another scoreless Brooklyn inning, Connecticut was able to repeat their second inning performance in the third to make it 2-0. Will Maddox, the Tigers first baseman led off with an infield single on a backhanded play that ate up shortstop Amed Rosario. After a ground out, hit by pitch, single, Maddox stood at third with the bases loaded. A wild pitch from Brooklyn starter, Alberto Baldonado would score Maddox and advance the other runners. Baldonado was able to regain his composure and induce two fly outs for the final two outs of the inning without surrendering any other runs.
The top of the fourth was no smoother for Baldonado who walked two batters and gave up a bunt for a single to load the bases. With two outs and no available bases, Baldonado hit Brett Pirtle on the leg to move each runner up by 90 feet and plate another Tiger. Things went from bad to worse during the next at-bat as Ross Kivett grounded a routine ball over to Rosario but a bad throw by Rosario would eat up Tyler Moore at first base. Rosario’s error bought in another two Connecticut runners and put his team in a five-run hole.
For the second night in a row, Michael Conforto produced for the Cyclones offense by way of home run, this time hitting a solo shot off of the scoreboard in left to finally get the Cyclones on the board. After Conforto’s leadoff blast, the next three Brooklyn batters would go down in order.
As the bottom of the fifth got underway, it seemed the Cyclones were going to make a dent in the four-run Connecticut lead after Michael Bernal led off with a single to his right field counterpart and fellow Michael, Michael Gerber. After a walk by Tomas Nido and ground out by Adrian Abreu, the Cyclones had runners on second and third with just one out. A long nine-pitch at-bat, that resulted in a strikeout by Dimas Ponce, and ground out by John Mora would put an end to the Brooklyn scoring threat. After only managing to get one out in the sixth and giving up two singles, Baldonado’s night came to an end, and Josh Prevost entered the game. The Seton Hall product was able to get consecutive ground ball outs to get out of the inning and keep Connecticut’s lead at four.
In the bottom of the eighth, Jeffrey Diehl entered the game as a pinch hitter for Ponce, making his return after being sidelined for several weeks with an oblique injury. Two outs and four batters later, the Cyclones were threatening for the first time since the fifth inning as Jhoan Ureña came up to bat with Mora on third and Conforto on first. Unfortunately, Ureña was unable to advance the runners, grounding out to end the inning.
After 2.2 innings of great work by Prevost, lefty Paul Paez entered the game to pitch the ninth inning, with his team still trailing. Paez was able to pitch a scoreless top of the ninth, but the stellar performances from him and Prevost would not erase the five runs allowed by Baldonado, which were too much for the Cyclones to overcome as they fell 5-1 to Connecticut.
Before heading out on the road, the Cyclones will take on the Tigers one more time, Monday night. Tickets start at just $10 and can be purchased by visiting the MCU Park Box Office, by calling 718-507-TIXX, or make a few clicks and buy them right here at BrooklynCyclones.com.