Just one day after Lowell (2-5) and Tri-City (4-3) managed a combined 11 hits, the two teams were each in double digits after five innings and finished with 14 safeties apiece.
"It was wild. The weather was crazy, I didn't know if they were going to call it after five innings," third baseman Matt Duffy said. "It was nice to see everyone swing the bat well."
The first two batters of the game scored on a Jose Garcia homer into the left-field bullpen and the Spinners added another run in the third. Four Tri-City runs in the bottom of that frame were answered by a Lowell four-spot in the fourth as the visitors re-took a 7-4 lead.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the 'Cats took advantage of some good fortune. Duffy's leadoff double was erased when the third baseman rounded the bag too far and was thrown out at second, but Zach Johnson reached on an error and the next two batters drew walks. Designated hitter Kellen Kiilsgaard hit a potential inning-ending double-play ball, but Lowell first baseman Boss Monaroa threw the ball wide of second base, allowing two runs to score on the play.
Hector Rodriguez hit another double-play grounder, back to the pitcher, and the Spinners got the first out at second. But shortstop Jose Garcia's relay throw sailed into the visitors' dugout, bringing Brandon Meredith home from second. Two pitches later, John Hinson singled home Rodriguez to cap the rally.
All four runs in the decisive inning were unearned.
The ValleyCats stranded four runners on three hits in the first two innings before finally breaking through. Center fielder Justin Gominsky led off the inning with a single, stole second and scored on Duffy's second hit of the game. Catcher Miles Hamblin stroked a two-out double, scoring Duffy, and two batters later Kellen Kiilsgaard brought home two more runs with a triple to the right-center-field wall.
The 'Cats had three triples on the night, the most the ValleyCats have had in a game since 2005 and possibly earlier. First baseman Zach Johnson hit a three-bagger in the sixth and scored on Hamblin's sacrifice fly, and Meredith capped the scoring with a two-run triple in the eighth.
"We had a lot of timely hits," Johnson said. "Through the lineup, everyone hit pretty well, everyone saw the ball well even with the conditions."
Jonas Dufek was charged with seven runs in 3.2 innings, six earned, though the final three came on Garin Cecchini's two-out double off Kristian Bueno. But the ValleyCats' bullpen held firm, shutting the visitors down until a meaningless ninth-inning run off Ebert Rosario. Southpaws Adam Champion and Travis Smink combined for three shutout innings.
"The guys came through," manager Stubby Clapp said of his relievers. "Champ threw up a nice inning for us, Smink came in and shut it down for two innings - that was real important - and then we got to see Rosie come back."
Duffy went 4-for-5 in the game, and now leads the NY-Penn League with 14 hits and a .483 batting average.
"When it's going good, it's going good, but this game can humble you pretty quickly," he said.
Matty Johnson went 4-for-5 for the visitors, scoring all four times he reached base. Tim Roberson kicked off a four-run fourth inning with a one-out homer.
With tonight's win, kids will be able to eat free at all six Capital District locations of the Ninety Nine Restaurant.
The ValleyCats, above .500 for the first time in 2011, will go for the series sweep tomorrow night. Lowell returns to "The Joe" for a 7 p.m. game.