(Photo Courtesy of Gordon Donovan)
Brooklyn, NY – September 1, 2013 – What Sunday night’s game lacked in runs early, it made up for late as all nine runs scored came from the seventh inning on as Aberdeen held on for a 5-4 victory over the Cyclones at MCU Park. Brooklyn rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the come back fell just short. Tonight marked the first time in 30 games that the Cyclones led after seven innings and did not win.
LHP Dario Alvarez, a minor league free agent who spent the last three seasons out of affiliated baseball, took the mound for Brooklyn opposite Baltimore’s first round selection in the 2013 Draft, Hunter Harvey, and matched him pitch for pitch. The southpaw tossed 5.2 innings shutout innings, scattering four hits and three walks, while striking out six. Alvarez worked his way out of trouble in the top of the first, but cruised along nicely until his final inning of work. A pair of walks and a single loaded the bases for the IronBirds with two outs, forcing Alvarez to hand the ball over to the bullpen. Tyler Vanderheiden made quick work of Frederico Castagini, who grounded out weakly to first base to end the threat.
Hunter Harvey was just as impressive on the mound for Abereen, as the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 Draft allowed just one hit and a walk while striking out five over his 4.1 innings before being removed due to pitch count restrictions.
The scoreless tie extended into the seventh inning, when Jared King started the excitement with an acrobatic catch down the left field line, leaping into the visitor’s bullpen for the final out of the frame. The catch seemed to awaken the anxious crowd as well as the Brooklyn bats, because in the bottom of the frame Brooklyn would finally break the scoreless tie. Gavin Cecchini singled to start the frame and King worked a one-out walk to put a pair aboard for James Roche. Roche hit a grounder down to third base that Tanner Rust fielded and stepped on third to record the first out, but Roche hustled down the line to beat out the relay throw for what would have been an inning ending double play. Roche’s hustle would be rewarded, as Alex Sanchez took advantage of the scoring chance by lining a single up the middle that chased home Jared King to give Brooklyn a 1-0 edge.
The lead was short-lived however because in the Aberdeen’s next turn at bat, they would draw even. Jeff Kemp was hit by a pitch to start the frame, and was later thrown out attempting to steal for the second out of the inning. The caught stealing would prove to be significant, because just a few pitches later Conor Bierfeldt connected on his 12th home run of the season to knot the score at 1-1.
After Brooklyn appeared to have the makings of a rally in the bottom of the frame, after Colton Plaia walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Aberdeen hurler Janser Severino struck out to side to quell the uprising.
In the ninth, Brooklyn wouldn’t be as lucky, as the IronBirds scored three times to take control of the game. A single and a walk started the frame and Brooklyn reliever Paul Paez quickly found himself in a jam. Tanner Rust then laid down a sacrifice bunt that Paez fielded and threw to third in hopes of retiring the lead runner, but Frederico Castagnini slid in safely to load the bases. After George Barber was retired on an infield fly, Mike Yastrzemski connected on the decisive blow. The grandson of the former Red Sox great, Carl Yastrzemski ripped a bases-clearing double off the left field wall, scoring three and giving Aberdeen the 4-1 advantage. Yastrzemski would come around to score later in the frame thanks to a throwing error from Colton Plaia, to make the final score 5-1.
That tack on run would prove important because the Cyclones clawed their way back in the bottom of the frame. L.J. Mazzilli and Jared King connected on back-to-back singles to start the frame, and James Roche reached on a throwing error which allowed Mazzilli to score and put a pair of runners in scoring position with nobody out. Alex Sanchez followed with his second RBI of the game, by way of a run scoring ground out, and Tomas Nido singled to plate King and make it 5-4. But Brooklyn wouldn't get any closer as Colton Plaia popped out to second base and Anthony Chavez lined out to right to end the game.
The Cyclones will head to Tri-City for a three-game set to end the regular season with faint hopes of making the playoffs. The Cyclones must win at least two games, and hope that the Lowell Spinners sweep the IronBirds.