Photo Courtesy of George Napolitano
Brooklyn, New York – June 19th – The Brooklyn Cyclones (2-1) defeated Phil Hughes and the Staten Island Yankees (1-2) in front of a Father’s Day crowd of 7,966. Jeff Walters opposed Hughes, tossing 4.1 innings of two-run ball and striking out four. Hunter Carnevale (1-0) earned the win in relief for the Cyclones, striking out four in 2.0 innings of work and T.J. Chism earned his first save of 2011. Second baseman Ismael Tijerina paced Brooklyn by going 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Catcher Nelfi Zapata hit his first home run of 2011, going yard off of Hughes.
Brooklyn threatened in the first inning when shortstop Danny Muno and Tijerina both singled to put men on the corners with no outs. Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes promptly struck out a pair of Cyclones, but allowed a walk to first baseman Luke Stewart to load the bases. Hughes, however, worked out of trouble by inducing an inning-ending strikeout.
Walters worked two scoreless frames before allowing a pair of runs in the third inning. A lead-off walk by third baseman Casey Stevenson and a single by left fielder Shane Brown gave the Yankees runners on first and second with one out. Center fielder Mason Williams then singled to plate Stevenson and advance Brown to third base. Shortstop Cito Culver’s groundball up the middle was snagged by Tijerina and fired over to first for the second out of the inning, but Brown scored on the play, giving Staten Island a 2-0 lead.
Hughes held the Cyclones scoreless through 4.1 innings, but Zapata homered off of the left field scoreboard to give Brooklyn their first run. Hughes was subsequently lifted after reaching his prearranged pitch count limit.
With the Yankees ahead 2-1, Tijerina led off the bottom of the sixth with a line drive single to left field. After advancing to third on a groundball, Tijerina was driven in on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Richard Lucas, evening the score at two. A single by Stewart and the plunking of designated hitter Juan Torres put Cyclones on first and second with left fielder Travis Taijeron at the plate. Taijeron promptly singled up the middle to put Brooklyn up 3-2.
Staten Island, however, responded with a run of their own in the seventh. After singling to lead-off the inning, Williams stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Zapata. An RBI-ground out to the shortstop by Culver allowed Williams to score, tying the game.
With one out in the bottom half of the frame, center fielder Chase Greene singled to start a Cyclones rally. After Muno drew a walk, Tijerina grounded out to third base, allowing Greene and Muno to advance to third and second respectively. With two outs, right fielder Javier Rodriguez laced a hard groundball to the right of the second baseman, but he hustled down the line, beating the throw, and allowing both Greene and Muno to score.
Both Brooklyn and Staten Island were held scoreless in the eighth. With a 5-3 lead heading into the ninth, the Cyclones kept T.J. Chism out on the hill to close the door. The Yankees threatened, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but Stewart snagged a line drive that was heading down the right field line to end the game.
The Cyclones will begin a three-game series at home against the Aberdeen IronBirds tomorrow, Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m. LHP Chris Hilliard (0-0) and LHP Matt Drummond (0-0) will take the hill for Brooklyn and Aberdeen respectively. Tomorrow’s game will be broadcasted on SNY and 3,000 lucky fans will receive an Angel Pagan bobblehead. Angel will also be in attendance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
-- by Ryan Gilbert --