TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Tri-City ValleyCats (9-10) dropped the series opener 9-3 to the Empire State Greys (6-12) on Friday at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
Empire State took a 1-0 lead in the third after a homer from Luis Atiles off Garrison Bryant.
The Greys utilized the long ball again in the fourth. Jordan Scott hit a solo shot. Josue Herrera then singled, and Josh Sears followed suit with a two-run blast to put Empire State on top, 4-0.
Atiles worked Empire State’s first walk in the fifth to lead off the frame. Eric Jenkins then doubled. Atiles scored on a wild pitch, and Jenkins moved to third. Herrera plated Jenkins with an RBI single to extend the Grey’s lead to 6-0.
Zach Whalin reached on a hit-by-pitch to begin the sixth inning. Whalin stole second and advanced to third on a flyout from John Mead. Atiles singled to pick up his second RBI of the day to pull Empire State ahead, 7-0.
The ValleyCats got on the board in sixth. Jaxon Hallmark lined a double off Andres Rodriguez. Two batters later, Carson McCusker lifted a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 7-2. It was McCusker’s fifth home run of the season and 24th with Tri-City. He tied Brantley Bell for fourth all-time in homers in ValleyCats history since joining the Frontier League in 2021.
The Greys knocked out Bryant with back-to-back hits from Scott and Herrera to start the seventh inning. Sears brought in Scott with a single off Matt Dunaway. Cespedes drove in Herrera with a double to provide Empire State with a 9-2 lead.
Tri-City showed some life in the eighth. Cito Culver hit a single off Nick Trabacchi, and McCusker collected his third RBI of the night with a double to make it a 9-3 game.
Rodriguez (1-1) earned the win. He hurled seven innings, yielding two runs on four hits, walking two, and striking out three.
Bryant (1-2) received the loss. He went six or more innings for the fourth straight start. Bryant tossed six frames tonight, giving up nine runs on 10 hits, walking one, and striking out three.
Tri-City returns tomorrow, Saturday, June 3 at “The Joe” to play the middle game of a three-game set with the Empire State. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM.