The Renegades (42-20) posted season-high marks in runs scored and margin of victory in the drubbing of the visiting Tigers (28-33). The win was the fifth in a row for the 'Gades, who are now 5-1 since the All-Star Break. Every member of the Renegades starting lineup either scored a run or recorded an RBI in the rout.
Hudson Valley opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, with left fielder Marty Gantt earning a leadoff single against Connecticut starter Endrys Briceno (4-3). Center fielder Joey Rickard followed up with a single of his own to put runners on first and second with no outs. With one out, third baseman Richie Shaffer laced a single through the middle to score Gantt, though Rickard was thrown out at third on the play. Designated hitter Luke Maile then slashed a triple into the right field corner, scoring Shaffer and giving Hudson Valley a 2-0 lead.
The 'Gades advanced their cause in the bottom of the third inning. Gantt led off with another single, and reached second when Rickard drew a walk. A wild pitch advanced the two runners to second and third. After second baseman Tommy Coyle lined out to the shortstop for the first out, Shaffer was hit by a pitch from Briceno to load the bases up for Maile. The designated hitter dropped an RBI single into left field, scoring Gantt and reloading the bases for shortstop Leonardo Reginatto. The shortstop hit his own single to center to score Rickard and keep the bases loaded for catcher Jake DePew. DePew bounced a high chopper to short, starting a 6-4 force out; DePew managed to beat the relay throw to first, which gave Shaffer time to score from third and make it 5-0 Renegades.
Hudson Valley poured on the offense in the fourth inning. Leadoff man and right fielder Charles Epperson was hit by a pitch from Briceno, and moved to third when Gantt's grounder to the left side was muffed by shortstop Jordan Dean. That was the end for Briceno, who was replaced by southpaw reliever Ryan Longstreth. With runners on the corners, Rickard grounded a single through the right side, plating Epperson and moving Gantt to third base. Coyle hit a high chopper for a ground out that scored Gantt and advanced Rickard to second. With one out and a runner in scoring position, Shaffer singled home Rickard to give the Renegades an 8-0 advantage.
The 'Gades put the finishing touches on the victory in the bottom of the eighth against Tigers reliever Angel Nesbitt. First baseman Michael Williams led off with a single through the right side, and moved up to second base when right fielder Patrick Smith couldn't cleanly handle the play. Epperson singled Williams to third on a chopper up the middle, and Gantt lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Williams. After Rickard flew out to center field, Coyle came to the plate looking for his first time reaching base in the ballgame. He worked a 3-1 count against Nesbitt before blasting a fastball over the right field fence for a two-run homer - his second in as many games - to put the Renegades ahead by the final 11-0 margin.
Hudson Valley starter Matthew Spann (3-4) twirled six superb innings for the win, allowing just two hits and two walks while whiffing five. Kris Carlson tossed two perfect innings of relief with one strikeout. Rob Finneran pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up one hit while fanning one. The 'Gades have not allowed a run over their last 23 defensive innings dating back to Monday at Lowell, and have a sensational 0.50 ERA over their last four games.
Briceno took the loss, coughing up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and a walk over three-plus innings; he hit two batters and tossed a wild pitch. Longstreth allowed a run on three hits in his three frames on the hill, fanning four. Nesbitt gave up three runs on four hits in two innings of action.
The Renegades will go for the sweep Thursday night, with ace righty Jeff Ames going for Hudson Valley against Connecticut southpaw Charles Gillies. It's WATSON First Base Night at the Dutch! Fans will put their brains to the test as they compete against the best in our WATSON First Base challenge. Also, the first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a 2012 Renegades Team Card Set! First pitch is scheduled for 7:05, with Ben Gellman's pregame show set for 6:50 p.m. on 1450 and 1370 AM WKIP, as well as online at HVRenegades.com.
Great seats are still available for all of the remaining Renegades regular season games, and playoff tickets are also now on sale. Call the ticket office 845-838-0094 for information or go to www.hvrenegades.com!