TROY, NY - After taking the series finale in Mahoning Valley on Friday night, the IronBirds dropped the series opener on Saturday to the Tri-City ValleyCats, 8-2. The ValleyCats plated six runs in the first three innings and cruised to their 14th victory of the season. 3B Torsten Boss drove both of the IronBirds' runs in the sixth inning.
Tri-City entered Saturday night's game on a three-game losing streak but that did not seem to be on the ValleyCats mind as they got right to work in the first inning. CF Andrew Aplin singled home DH Neiko Johnson with one out in the bottom of the first to give the ValleyCats a lead they would not relinquish.
In the second inning, 2B Austin "Catfish" Elkins came to the plate with one out and the bases loaded. Elkins hit a sharp grounder down the first base line. The ground ball hit off the heal of Doug Bream's glove and bounced into foul territory. C Tyler Heineman and SS Joe Sclafani both scored on the play to put Tri-City in front by three. CF Andrew Aplin drove home another run in the frame to cap off the three-run second.
The ValleyCats added two more runs in the third inning and closed the door on Jaime Esquivel's night. In his fourth start of the season, Esquivel allowed six runs, four earned, on three hits over three innings and walked a career-high six batters.
Following Aaron West's departure from Friday's game, the IronBirds finally got on the board. With two outs in the sixth, 2B Creede Simpson singled and RF Roderick Bernadina followed with a double. 3B Torsten Boss drove both of them with a single to center field.
Boss' two-run single ended up as the only runs Aberdeen scored on the night.
Tri-City starter, RHP Aaron West (2-0) picked up the win on the night. He allowed just two hits over five shutout innings. Jaime Esquivel (2-2) got the loss for Aberdeen.
Out of the IronBirds' bullpen, RHP Ken Wise tossed a pair of scoreless innings.
The IronBirds and ValleyCats will game two of their three-game series on Sunday night. RHP David Richardson (0-0, 1.86) will make his second start of the year for Aberdeen. The ValleyCats will turn to LHP Brian Holmes (1-0, 1.50). First pitch from Joseph L. Bruno Stadium is set for 5 p.m. with coverage beginning on the IronBirds Radio Network at 4:45 p.m.