The Tri-City Valleycats entered play Friday night tied with Connecticut for first place in the New York-Penn League's Stedler division, and sought a sweep of division rival Lowell. The game was played under overcast skies at first pitch, right at 7:00, but the clouds should've been a harbinger of things to come.
Tri-City starter Cristian Javier only went three innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits, striking out 6, while walking 4. In fact, it was the walks that were a real problem. You have to remember that in this era, pitch counts are just as important as a pitcher's effectiveness on the mound.
NCAA home run champion Jake Adams gave 'Cats fans a taste of what to expect when he wasted little time hitting his first pro homer with one out in the 2nd. In the 3rd, with Lowell leading, 2-1, Connor MacDonald tied the game with a base hit off Lowell starter Nick Duron, but Abraham Toro was thrown out at 3rd to end the inning. That would also be the end of the 'Cats' offense for the night.
The Spinners jumped on Ben Smith when he took over in the 4th. Smith went just 1 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs while walking 4. All but one of the runs were earned due to a 'Cats error. Nathan Thompson came in and calmed things down, striking out 7, but first year manager Morgan Ensberg couldn't get the offense going again, and Lowell salvages the final game of the series, 7-2. The Spinners will return to Bruno Stadium in August.
Tri-City opens a 3-game series with Vermont tonight before heading out on the road. Connecticut also lost, so the 'Cats remain tied for first at 2-2.