TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Sussex County Miners and Tri-City ValleyCats wrapped up their mid-week series Thursday night at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
ValleyCats Manager Pete Incaviglia would send Ryan Hartman to the mound, while Conner Dand took the ball for Sussex County.
Both Hartman and Dand would show off their pitching prowess early on, only allowing one base runner combined in the first two innings, a Cito Culver walk to lead off the home half of the first inning.
The first Sussex County hit off the southpaw came with two outs in the third inning, when second baseman Nilo Rijo singled. He would be retired at second on a fielder’s choice hit by Martin Figueroa to end the inning.
Tri-City threatened in the home half of the fourth inning, with singles from catcher Austin Elder and 2022 Frontier League MVP Brantley Bell, but a fly out by Pavin Parks in foul territory ended the threat against Dand and the Miners.
Hartman would give up a lead off single to Miners shortstop Willie Escala, who would advance to second on a wild pitch the next at bat. The speedy shortstop would take third base on a failed pick off attempt by Hartman, but ultimately be stranded at third base following two fly outs induced by Hartman ended the inning.
The ‘Cats threatened again in the fourth inning, with back-to-back walks by Dand were issued to Denis Phipps and first baseman Brad Zunica. However Dand would strike out Carson McCusker and Jesus Lujano, and induce a ground out off the bat of Joey Campagna to end the inning, stranding two ValleyCats runners on base.
Ryan Hartman would retire the Miners in order to start the fifth inning. Cito Culver would launch his fourth extra base hit of the night in the bottom half of the same inning, a one out double to left center field. The ‘Cats shortstop would advance to third on a Bell fly out, but would be stranded 90 feet from home when Pavin Parks grounded out back to the pitcher.
Nilo Rijo would lead off the top half of the sixth inning with a double, putting a runner in scoring position for the visiting team with nobody out. Hartman would then induce two fly outs to Martin FIgueroa and Willie Escala, ending his outing there. The left hander struck out seven and did not walk a member of the opposition.
Adam Hofacket would enter to face Yanio Perez. The Miners first baseman would muscle a broken bat single into shallow right field, bringing Rijo in to score from second. That would be all the offense the Miners would need the remainder of the game.
Conner Dand would retire the side in order in the sixth, a stellar defensive relay by Jwuan Harris and Willie Escala nabbed McCusker at third, who was trying to stretch a double into a triple with two outs in the home half of the sixth inning.
Hofacket would stay on to work the seventh, and would retire the Miners in order. Cody Whitten would enter to relieve Dand, who surrendered three hits over six innings of work. He would strike out the first three batters he faced, keeping the one-run lead intact for the Miners.
Neil Abbatiello would take over the pitching duties for the ‘Cats in the eighth. The lefty would strikeout catcher Jackson Pritchard to lead off the inning, but would give up a walk and surrender a single to the next two Miners hitters. A double play ball hit to Cito Culver would end the Miners threat in the top of the eighth.
With one out in the inning, Brantley Bell would record his second hit of the night, an opposite field single. Following a Pavin Parks strikeout, Brantley Bell would steal second base, giving Miners skipper Bobby Jones the opportunity to walk Denis Phipps for the lefty-lefty matchup between Brad Zunica and Whitten. Zunica would pop the first pitch he saw up, stranding two on base to end the inning.
Trey Cochran-Gill would enter the game in the top of the ninth. He would surrender a lead off single to Yanio Perez, but another great double play turn took both runners off the base paths. A two out single by former ValleyCat Juan Silverio would be wasted when pinch hitter Edwin Mateo would ground out to end the inning.
Whitten would go out for his third inning of relief in the bottom of the ninth inning. He would strike McCusker out swinging. Jesus Lujano would line a single into right field, keeping the ‘Cats hopes alive. Joey Campagna would swing at the first pitch he saw in his at-bat, and pop out in foul ground to Alex Toral. Pete Incaviglia would call upon Austin Bernard to pinch hit for his catching counterpart, representing the last hope for Tri-City. Lujano would steal second, and take third base on defensive indifference. Bernard would work the count full, but would strike out on a Whitten fastball to end the game.