Troy, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Continuing a nine-game home stand with a one-off against a newfound rival, the Tri-City ValleyCats (7-17) came one pitch from securing their fourth straight victory, but could not shut the door. The ‘Cats gave up a late home run to fall, 5-3, to the New Jersey Jackals (15-9) in front of a crowd of 1,879 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium Thursday evening.
One night after taking home their first series victory of the 2021 campaign, the ‘Cats took an early lead, with former big-leaguer Willy Garcia hitting home fellow newcomer Nelson Molina and Juan Silverio on an RBI double in the home half of the first. Carried along by a three-inning no-decision from right-hander Turner Larkins that featured three strikeouts, the ‘Cats would head into the sixth with a 2-1 lead, despite the Jackals getting a run back on a wild pitch in the third.
An RBI single from New Jersey’s Russ Olive would knot the game at 2 in the top of the next frame, with the ‘Cats being sat down in order in the fifth and the sixth as part of a seven-inning no-decision for Jackals starter Chase Ingram that included four strikeouts. The ‘Cats got as close as they could to victory at the end of the game, beginning in the bottom of the eighth with Silverio rounding the bases on an inside-the-park home run on a ball hit deep to left center. Right-hander Fransisco Jimenez came on and struck out the side in order in the top of the eighth, giving him seven consecutive strikeouts dating back to Tuesday’s no-hitter.
Jimenez had two outs under his belt and two strikes with runners on first and second in the top of the ninth when New Jersey’s Justin Wylie permanently altered the course of the game with a three-run blast down the left line to give the visitors a 5-3 lead. The ‘Cats got runners to second and third in the bottom half of the frame, but could not complete the comeback, dropping their first game of the season when leading after eight innings.
Tri-City will look to rebound on Friday, June 25, when it begins a three-game weekend series to round out the nine-game home stand. The ‘Cats will begin play for the first time in franchise history against the Washington Wild Things, with first pitch set for 6:30 pm on Youth Baseball Night. Click Here for tickets.