Troy- In what started off as a quiet offensive game for both the ValleyCats and Yankees, Thursday night ended in walk-off fashion in front of the 3,603 fans at Joe Bruno Stadium. Colton Shaver hit a walk-off grand slam in his first game with the team to give the ‘Cats a 5-2 win; their first win over the Staten Island Yankees in four tries this year.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, after the tie was broken top half, the ‘Cats were threatening with one out and the bases loaded. Shaver, a 2017 39th round pick, blasted a hanging slider to left for the game winner to give the ‘Cats their fifth win in their last six games.
“With a runner on third base and we’re down one run I’m just trying to get a runner in, so I was just trying to get something to put in the air,” Shaver said. “He ended up throwing a slider that he left hanging and that’s what I was able to hit.”
The ‘Cats took an early 1-0 lead in the 3rd inning thanks to a sacrifice fly by JJ Matijevic which scored Shaver. Starter Matt Ruppenthal pitched four scoreless innings before giving up the tying run in the 5th. His night ended afterward as he gave up only the one earned run while striking out six and walking one over his 4.2 innings of work.
Nathan Thompson kept the game in check until the 9th where he gave up the go-ahead run with two outs. However, Morgan Ensberg was satisfied with Thompson’s work, regardless of the 9th inning run.
“I don’t consider giving up the run a bad outing, I think he had a heck of an outing,” Ensberg said. “He pitched in some very tight jams and pitched out of them and continues to miss bats.”
Reggie Johnson came in for Thompson and retired the only batter he faced on his way to earning the win.
The ValleyCats improve to 16-19 on the year as the Yankees fell to 24-12. The two teams will meet again on Friday for game two of the three game series at 7 p.m.