‘Cats offense struggles in loss to Hudson Valley

TROY — The ValleyCats offense could not come up with big hits in the late innings and it resulted in a 3-1 loss to the Hudson Valley Renegades on Thursday night.

Hudson Valley starting pitcher Paul Campbell dominated the ValleyCats order in the early innings, retiring the first nine hitters of the game before Jeremy Pena led off the fourth inning with a double. By that time, the Renegades had already taken a 2-0 lead, which they did in the top of the third on an RBI double off the bat of Adrian Rondon.

The score stayed the same until the top of the seventh, until Hudson Valley catcher Chris Betts hit a solo home run to right field to make it 3-0. The bottom half of the frame was when the ValleyCats finally got a run on the board, which they did on a balk. They could have made it a one-run game, but Luis Encarnacion struck out and Oscar Campos flied out to end the threat.

In the ninth off of closer B.J. Myers, the ValleyCats managed to get runners on base, getting the tying run to first and the winning run at the plate, but pinch hitter Juan Pineda recorded the ValleyCats 13th strikeout of the night to end the game.

“Most of the time the numbers aren’t good in favor of a pinch hitter but in that particular situation he’s had some pretty good at-bats and he had another good at-bat but it didn’t work out,” ValleyCats manager Jason Bell said.

The team really struggled on offense overall throughout the entire night, managing only two hits off of the Renegades’ pitching staff. They hit the ball out of the infield just five times the entire night. It came in the team’s first game since the departure of Seth Beer, who was called up to Class A Quad Cities on Wednesday afternoon.

“Anytime you lose probably your best hitter, you’re going to miss him. Regardless, we didn’t hit well in Staten Island either so just one of those things. We ran into two good arms tonight and it just wasn’t our night,” Bell said.

The team falls to 7-6 on the season but have lacked timely hitting in a lot of their losses. Three of the team’s six losses have come by two runs or fewer so far this year.

“There’s been a couple unlucky breaks and things like that. Hoping that our guys can continue to improve and make adjustments at the plate and we’ll see what happens,” Bell added.

Hudson Valley is off to an impressive 10-3 start to the season. The series will continue on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Joe Bruno Stadium. The probable starters are Cody Deason for Tri-City and Michael Mercado for Hudson Valley.

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