TROY — Saturday’s game against the Staten Island Yankees was initially set to be played a week ago in Staten Island, however rain delays pushed the game back twice with almost six hours of delay time in both ballparks. The ValleyCats would be unable to win it at home, losing 2-0.
Close to an hour before the game a storm cast over Troy, dumped massive amounts of water. The official rain fall total came out to be nearly twelve inches in half an hour. This made the field conditions completely unplayable. It took the ValleyCats’ grounds crew close to five hours to get the field to a playable condition.
Manager Jason Bell said “We wanted to see how it went hour by hour. We all wanted to play, but in the end it’s about player health. We wanted to make sure it was playable in those conditions and at the 9:45 mark we felt it was safe.”
The ValleyCats’ starting pitcher, Brett Conine came out sweltering. Conine struck out the first four batters he faced and five in those first two innings. He left the game after four and two-thirds innings while giving up three hits, one walk, and recorded a career high eight strikeouts.
Brett Conine did not leave the game unscathed. Conine hit his last batter Junior Soto before manager Jason Bell called to the bullpen to bring in right-handed reliever Devin Conn. Conn has had a promising start to the 2018 season. He has only allowed one run in his first seven appearances, but Conn was unable to hold off Yankees’s center fielder Brandon Lockridge’s advances. With a full pitch count, Lockridge hit a sharp ground ball into left field. As Lockridge stretched his hit into a double Junior Soto came around and scored easily, putting Staten Island up 1-0 in the fifth inning.
The Yankees tacked another run onto their total after a fielder’s choice and stolen base brought Junior Soto into scoring position again. With two outs up on the board, Jesus Bastidas hit a line drive into left field to bring Soto home.
“I think maybe one of the reasons they came out on top tonight was the way they stole the bases. It was just one of those games that didn’t go our way,” said Bell
Going into Saturday night, the ValleyCats led the league in stolen bases with sixty. Meanwhile, the Yankees were last in the league with fifteen. But tonight saw the tables turn. The limited runners that the ValleyCats could get just were not able to hit or steal into scoring position, while the Yankees aggressively ran on the base path. This led to four stolen bases for the Yankees, to of which moved up a scoring runner.
The ValleyCats and the Yankees will play two more games tomorrow night to decide the series. Nivaldo Rodriguez will take the mound against Shawn Semple for the Yankees. Neither pitcher has an ERA below three and a half so we can expect an interesting offensive showing.
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