TROY — The Tri-City ValleyCats used a three-run eighth inning to grind out a 6-3 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones on Monday night at Joe Bruno Stadium.
Austin Dennis, Logan Mattix and Oscar Campos each came away with two-hit games, while Alex Holderbach drove in a team-high two runs.
Brooklyn entered the day having won eight of its last nine games, primed for another victory with the New York-Penn League’s strikeout and ERA leader, Jaison Vilera starting Monday’s series opener against the ValleyCats, who had lost four straight games.
So after two first-inning doubles led to Ross Adolph scoring the game’s first run, the game had played perfectly into the Cyclones’ favor with Vilera taking over on the mound.
He had only allowed one baserunner through the first three innings, until Tri-City used a three-run barrage in the fourth to take its first lead of the game.
Luis Encarnacion brought home the tying run, while Alex Holderbach gave the ValleyCats the lead with a two-run double.
The Cyclones came right back to tie the game with a two-run fifth inning, chasing ‘Cats’ starter Carlos Hiraldo out of the game.
Nivaldo Rodriguez then took over, shutting down the Cyclones with a season-high seven strikeouts in three and two thirds scoreless innings pitched.
Austin Dennis scored the game-winning run in the eigth inning when he motored home from second base on a ground ball to Brooklyn’s second baseman, Carlos Cortes.
Cortes flipped the ball to the shortstop Manny Rodriguez to record a force-out at second base, while Dennis came around from second in full stride to score Tri-City’s fourth run.
Mattix and Campos then tacked on the final two insurance runs with hits of their own to complete the three-run eighth inning. All three runs were charged to New York-Penn League All-Star, Yeudy Colon, who was tagged with his fourth loss of the season.
Layne Henderson shut the door with a hitless ninth inning to earn the first save of his professional career, locking down Tri-City’s 6-3, series-opening win.
Now with a record of 34-27, the ValleyCats maintain their lead for first place in the Stedler division by 1.5 games over the Lowell Spinners.
Tri-City will go for the series win against Brooklyn on Tuesday night in Troy, with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
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