TROY, NY- For the third straight game, almost all of the Tri-City ValleyCats offense came from three players: Dan Gulbransen, James Ramsay, and Ronnie Mitchell. In Thursday night's 9-4 win over the Lowell Spinners, that trio led another impressive offensive outburst with nine hits, accounting for six RBI's in the team's third straight win. It was the second consecutive 9-4 win over the Red Sox affiliate.
The slugging started early for the Tri-City outfielders. With one out in the bottom of the first, James Ramsay homered for the second straight at-bat, going back to his final at bat Wednesday night. His solo home run gave the 'Cats a 1-0 lead. Ramsay added a run-scoring single in the 3rd and another single in the 5th. After his second hit tied up the game at 2 in the third, Gulbransen gave the home team the lead with a long single to left field. Two batters later, it was Mitchell who put the exclamation point on the inning, lining a base hit to right field, scoring two runners and increasing the Tri-City lead to 5-2.
Mitchell wasn't done, however. In the 6th, he singled and stole second. In the 8th, with the ValleyCats looking for insurance runs, the 38th round pick of the Astros this year smashed a hard double down the right field line, scoring Gulbransen. By the end of the night, Mitchell had his third straight multi-hit games, good for seven RBI in that time span.
"We are a great offensive team, and we know we can put up big offensive numbers on a nightly basis," said Mitchell, who's hot streak has boosted his average up to .357. "As long as we get good pitches to hit, and not miss them, things will turn out well for us."
On the mound, the ValleyCats needed only two pitchers to make it through nine. Evan Grills (1-0) went the first five innings for the 'Cats, picking up the win while allowing just three runs. Kevin Comer went the rest of the way, picking up the save while giving up just one hit and one run. Even when it started to rain in the 4th-6th innings, and pressure mounting to get through the top of the 5th to make it official, Grills and Comer pitched masterfully to squash any Lowell rallies. The duo of Grills and Comer has worked wonders for Tri-City this year, as the team is now 3-0 in games those two pitch in.
The win tonight by the 'Cats improves their home record to 5-0 this season, 7-0 when scoring first, 7-0 when homering, and 9-0 when scoring at least one run. Through just 11 games into the 2013 season, the ValleyCats already find themselves up by four games in the Stedler Division. This two-game series sweep of Lowell improves the 'Cats to 4-1 against them this season. Tri-City added to their already-league leading run total tonight, improving their count from 62 to 71.
The Connecticut Tigers come into town to take on the ValleyCats in a three game series starting Friday night at 7:00 pm. The starters are Tanner Bushue (1-0, 2.16) for Tri-City, and Alex Phillips (0-0, 0.00) for Connecticut. Tickets are still available for purchase by calling the ValleyCats box office at 518-629-CATS.