TROY — The Lowell Spinners took game two from the Tri-City ValleyCats 11-4 on Friday night in front of 4,809 fans at Joe L. Bruno Stadium.
ValleyCats starter Juan Robles retired the first three Spinners batters on 17 pitches, 11 of which were strikes. After allowing two runs in the second inning the wheels fell off for Robles in the third.
A pair of RBI singles followed by a Tyler Esplin three-run home run put the ‘Cats in a 7-0 deficit early on. Robles night would end after three innings as he allowed seven runs, all of which were earned, on six hits. He also walked and hit one batter while striking out four.
“It was nothing mechanically, it was just attacking the zone I think he fell off a little bit,” said ValleyCats manager Jason Bell of Robles pitching after the first inning. “But he’s a competitor and I think he will be alright next time around.”
Reliever Carlos Hiraldo allowed two more runs in the top of the fourth as the Spinners extended their lead further to 9-0. The ‘Cats would, however, get those two runs back thanks to a two RBI single by Austin Dennis, who was making his professional debut. In fact, Dennis had not seen live pitching since his final college game at Middle Tennessee State over a month ago.
“I was kind of worried because I hadn’t seen live pitching in over a month so I took about five rounds on the velo machine today because I didn’t know I was active until today,” Dennis said. “These past few days I didn’t know when I’d be ready so I was trying to get ready everyday expecting to be ready that day.”
The Spinners would go on to add two more runs in the sixth inning to widen their lead to 11-2. From there, the ‘Cats put up one run in the sixth inning on a Juan Pineda RBI double and another run in the eight inning on a Dennis suicide squeeze as they attempted to claw back. However, a silent ninth inning halted any hopes of a comeback for the ‘Cats.
The two teams will meet again on Saturday for the rubber match. The ValleyCats (4-4) are set to send Bryan Abreu (1-0, 1.80 ERA) to the bump while the Spinners (4-4) will send Hunter Haworth (0-0, 3.60 ERA) to the hill. Game time is at 7 p.m. at Joe Bruno Stadium.