TROY — A night after getting trounced 10-1 by the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Tri-City ValleyCats (6-10) turned the tables, and shutout the New York met’s affiliated club, 11-0 in front of 4,291 Thursday evening at Joe Bruno Stadium.
The ‘Cats notched five dingers on fifteen hits with left fielder J.J. Matijevic and designated hitter Reid Russell collecting their first professional home runs
“I think it’s awesome to pick up your first professional home run,” said Manager Morgan Ensberg. “They’ve been working really hard, and we’ve been asking a lot of them, and these are things that are not necessarily comfortable… it’s an awesome time.”
Matijevic gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. “It’s an amazing feeling, I knew I hit it well and knew I got it over,” said the recently drafted player. “I’ve been waiting two weeks for one.” The Latrobe, Pennsylvania product was selected 75th overall by the Houston Astros on June 12.
Russell sent his first pro home run, a solo shot, over the fence in the bottom of the sixth inning, but he wasn’t done there. The recent 33rd round draft pick cracked another one two innings later. “It’s pretty cool. I’ve been struggling at the plate lately, but it felt to finally square up some balls and help the team win,” he said postgame.
Jake Adams and teammate Kyle Davis also put balls on the back end of Hudson Valley Community College. Adams, a University of Iowa graduate, hit a three-run blast in the bottom of the third inning for his third dinger of the year, while Davis hit his second in the sixth.
On the mound, ‘Cats starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval had a strong outing recording eight strikeouts over five innings while allowing just three hits and walking two. “I felt good about it [my pitching] today, but it wasn’t my best stuff.”
Ensberg was still pleased, “Sandoval is a guy that’s a competitor, a warrior and he’s attacking the zone. Even when he doesn’t have all his stuff, he’s still in the zone.”
Colin McKee pitched four innings of relief for the ValleyCats, striking out five, walking three and not allowing a single hit or run.
The ValleyCats hit the road Friday for a weekend series against the Aberdeen IronBirds, before returning to Joe Bruno Stadium on Tuesday.