TROY — Six Tri-City ValleyCats pitchers combined to nearly shut out the Albany Dutchmen in a preseason exhibition game on Wednesday afternoon at Joe Bruno Stadium, winning 6-1.
Bryan Abreu got the start for the ValleyCats and dazzled in his first outing of the summer, going three hitless innings and struck out four Dutchmen hitters.
Before he came out of the game the ValleyCats offense did not take long to come to life, scoring three runs in the first two innings of the contest to take a 3-0 lead. The two runs in the first inning came on back-to-back sacrifice flies from Enmanuel Valdez and Luis Encarnacion. The third run came in the second inning after a wild pitch from Dutchmen starter Steven Plaskett.
The second Tri-City pitcher of the day, Nivaldo Rodriguez surrendered the first two Albany hits of the day in the fourth inning, and let up one more in the fifth.
After that the ValleyCats pitching dominated the Albany order as Hansel Paulino, Luis De Paula and Juan Pablo Lopez all had hitless outings from the sixth to the ninth innings.
The ValleyCats extended their lead in the sixth inning as shortstop Juan Pineda lifted a two-run home run to left field in the sixth inning to make it 5-0, and then made it 6-0 in the eighth on an RBI groundout off the bat of Gilberto Celestino after Kyle Davis led off the inning with a triple. Davis, a returner to Troy, had a nice afternoon, going 2-4 with a double and a triple.
The Dutchmen got a couple of hits and a run in the ninth inning off of reliever Ian Hardman but it was not even close to enough as the ValleyCats grabbed a win that doesn’t count in the standings but is a good confidence-boosting win for the team before they open regular season play.
The ValleyCats open the 2018 season on Friday in their home opener, taking on the Vermont Lake Monsters. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Joe Bruno Stadium.