Brooklyn, NY – July 16, 2017 – The bottom of the ninth started with two quick outs, but a bloop single by Matt Winaker and a Reed Gamache walk set up Jose Miguel Medina — who had two hits on the day prior to this at-bat — with a chance to win it. His line-drive toward the left field corner drew a roar from MCU Park and Brooklyn pulled out a 2-1 victory against the State College Spikes. A mob formed around the hero at second base and the Cyclones ended the five-game losing streak in walk-off fashion.
In a tough, low-scoring affair, the Cyclones (7-19) pulled out a victory against the Spikes (15-11), winning their first game via walk-off since August of last year. On a day where both offenses were stifled, starter Gunnar Kines dominance and Medina’s heroics were the difference.
Less than a month ago, Kines wasn’t playing affiliated baseball. On Sunday, the Conway, South Carolina-native dazzled with 6.0 shutout innings, only conceding one hit. After allowing six runs in his first appearance, Kines has been stellar. The 24-year-old has pitched 19.1 innings in four appearances, allowed just three runs on 10 hits, while striking out 14.
“He did it once again,” Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo said. “It should be no hits but it was great. He’s like a bull when every pitch is working.”
The Cyclones put the pressure on Spikes starter Paul Balestrieri in the second inning. After giving up two singles on consecutive pitches — one to Walter Rasquin, the other to Ricardo Cespedes — Scott Manea was plunked on an inside fastball to load the bases.
Jeremy Wolf stepped up for the first time in five games, looking to drive in a run. Wolf started the year hot, picking up six RBI through productive outs. He’d since been in a slump, getting few starts and not producing on his minimal chances. A chopper to first base was misplayed by Yariel Gonzalez, allowing one run to score and Wolf to reach base. Cespedes charged home but was tagged out easily, limiting BKLYN to just one run.
Kines’ no-hitter was ended in the fifth inning. A high-fly in the sun-soaked sky dropped in between Quinn Brodey and Cespedes for a weak, sun-aided double. With two outs, the runner now on third, Kines got Ricardo Bautista to hit a grounder to short. Edgardo Fermin fielded the ball, fired low and Winaker dropped to a knee to get the out and preserve the shutout.
In the seventh, Darwin Ramos replaced Kines and managed a scoreless, 1-2-3 frame. An inning later, Ramos looked to be cruising with a big strikeout to kick start the frame. Then, the the Spikes mounted an out-of-nowhere rally.
After back-to-back walks, Imeldo Diaz sent a bouncer up the middle for a single. Cespedes launched the ball to the plate and Manea placed the tag but the home plate umpire extended his arms outward, ruling safe.
With a pair of runners aboard, Trey Cobb (1-0) was called on to escape the jam. The eighth-round pick had been stellar in 6.2 innings for the Cyclones prior to Sunday. And after issuing a leadoff walk, he got Yariel Gonzalez to groundout and Evan Mendoza to strike out, keeping the score tied. Cobb dealt a scoreless ninth, striking out the side in the process. Then came Medina’s heroics. After the game, a chant of “Jose! Jose! Jose!” could be heard through the Cyclones’ locker room. A bright spot that the Cyclones hope can help build some positive momentum.
“Thank goodness he was aggressive in the last at-bat,” Alfonzo said. “That what he’s been doing for us. When we needed it the most today, he stepped up. Hopefully (the season) turns positive. It’s not fun when you don’t win at all. I tell them about the talent they have. They have to believe and step up. Hopefully that gives the guys a lift, and they come out strong tomorrow.”