The two teams were tied at 7-7 entering the final frame. Tyler Burnett led off the inning with his 45th walk of the season, good for second in the NYPL. Marcus Nidiffer advanced the infielder to second with a sacrifice, and Adam Bailey hit a clean single to shallow left field. Burnett touched third as left fielder ZeErika McQueen picked up the ball, but manager Jim Pankovits sent him home, and the gamble paid off. Burnett slid into the plate just ahead of the bouncing ball with the eventual winning run.
Tri-City (38-35) notched 15 hits, while the Cyclones (50-24) added 13. Neither starting pitcher made it through the fourth inning.
Some unsuccessful small-ball hurt the Cyclones in the eighth. Down by one run, James Schroeder attempted to advance Blake Forsythe to second after a leadoff walk, but former shortstop Jorge De Leon bounced off the mound to make the play at second. Schroeder then attempted to steal second himself, but he was easily thrown out by Chris Wallace.
But the hosts still managed a two-out rally. ZeErika McQueen drew a walk and advanced to third on a Wilfredo Tovar single. J.B. Brown capped the sequence with his fourth hit of the night, scoring McQueen with the tying run.
The top of the ValleyCats order came through in the top of the fifth inning to break a 5-5 tie. Ben Orloff and Austin Wates drew walks, and Tyler Burnett loaded the bases with a single. Marcus Nidiffer's grounder was gloved by shortstop Wilfredo Tovar, who forced Wates out at third. Orloff scored on the play, and Bailey's one-out single brought Burnett home from second.
Brooklyn scored a run on two extra-base hits in the seventh to pull within one run.
The hosts opened the scoring in the second inning, loading the bases with three consecutive singles. Blake Forsythe plated Jeff Flagg with a lineout to right field, and James Schroeder's grounder to first brought home Joe Bonfe with the game's second run.
Tri-City answered in the top of the third. Telvin Nash led off the frame with a blast over the fence in left-center, the second extra-base hit in six at-bats for the September call-up. Ben Orloff followed with a one-out single, a line drive to center field. Orloff reached base in four of his five at-bats.
Hot-hitting center fielder Austin Wates then delivered the game's farthest hit, a home run off the hitters' backdrop in center field. Wates's first longball of the year was only the second ball ever hit off the backdrop, which lies more than 412 feet from home plate.
The 'Cats extended their lead in the fourth inning. Bailey led off the frame with a double to right field, and Chris Wallace's single brought him around to score. The throw home moved Wallace to second, and a wild pitch advanced him to third, from where he would score on a bloop single by Jacke Healey.
Bailey, who went 3-for-5, has 12 hits in his last six games.
Brooklyn answered in its half of the fourth. Joe Bonfe reached base with a single, and Will Cherry drove a ball over the left-field fence to end starter Jake Buchanan's night. Reliever Mike Ness walked James Schroeder, who would score on a two-out single by Brown, tying the game at 5-5.
De Leon allowed one run in 2.1 innings of work to earn the victory.
The ValleyCats return to MCU Park for their final game of the regular season. They will start David Martinez, who ranks sixth in the league with a 2.47 ERA and has allowed just four earned runs in five August starts. Brooklyn counters with righty A.J. Pinera, who is just above Martinez on the leaderboard with a 2.37 ERA. A Tri-City win or a Connecticut loss at Aberdeen would clinch the Stedler Division title and a playoff spot for the ValleyCats.