TROY — The Tri-City ValleyCats came into Thursday’s matchup to try and sweep the Connecticut Tigers. Connecticut’s pitching staff had different plans, holding Tri-City to one run as the ValleyCats fell 2-1 Thursday night at Joe Bruno Stadium.
Tri-City starter, the right handed Mark Moclair was all over the place to start the game. Moclair gave up to walks in his first two innings of work. He showed a flash of consistency in the second and third innings, striking out four consecutive batters. Even though he struck out the four batters, he walked just as many. The first run of the game was scored by Connecticut, when a wild pitch by Moclair brought in Wenceel Perez from third base. Connecticut catcher Gersuan Silverio added another run in the top of the third when he hit a line drive into centerfield, scoring Clark Brinkman. Following this Brett Daniels came in to finish the inning for the ValleyCats.
Connecticut had their next opportunity to score in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Eric De La Rosa dropped a ball into shallow centerfield for a single. After De La Rosa stole second base, a wild pitch by Daniels moved him to the third. With the man on third, Brett Daniels walked Jeremiah Burks before finally getting Sam McMillian to ground out to the shortstop, giving Connecticut a 2-0 lead.
Carlos Guzman pitched six innings of dominant ball as Connecticut’s starting pitcher. Although Guzman only struck out three batters, his one walk and no hits allowed made base runners a commodity for Tri-City in the early going.
Tri-City’s manager Jason Bell said “I think it was more us beating ourselves. I think (Guzman) got stronger as it went and he got the momentum that we were giving him.”
Arvincent Perez came in to pick up the no hitter bid in the seventh but he did not find as much success as Carlos Guzman had. After walking the lead off hitter, he struck out Carlos Machado swinging. The no-hit bid came to an end with the next at bat as Austin Dennis hit a ground ball into left field for a single.
Tri-City cut Connecticut’s lead in half in the bottom of the eighth. With a man on first base, Nate Perry hit a sharp ground ball to right fielder Dayton Dugas, but it got past the his glove and rolled to the wall. The runner on first came all the way around to score while Perry was thrown out extending the play.
Yaya Chentouf came in to close for the Connecticut Tigers. With one out on the board, Enmanuel Valdez made things interesting with a double to right field. The ValleyCats were unable to capitalize on the runner in scoring position though, grounding out and striking out to end the game. The win went to Carlos Guzman and Yaya Chentouf grabbed his ninth save of the season.
The ValleyCats have a tough grind ahead of them going into the end of the season. They will go out to Lowell this weekend to play the team that is only three and a half games behind them in the Stedler division. This will be the first of three road series for the rest of the month, including another with Lowell and the first place Hudson Valley Renegades.
“If we go up or go down we have to continue to keep pushing forward. It’s baseball, it’s not like you can run the clock out, you have to get the outs. That’s what’s exciting about our game,” said Bell.