TROY, NY - The Tri-City ValleyCats struggled in all three games against the Vermont Lake Monsters, dropping the final game of the season series with Vermont 9-6. The loss Friday night marks the 'Cats fourth loss in a row.
Tri-City got out of the gate quickly by tacking on solo runs in the bottom of the first and second innings. Lake Monsters starter Ronald Herrera hit James Ramsay and Ryan Dineen to start the bottom of the first. The ValleyCats attempted a double steal and were successful because Monsters third baseman Ryon Healy did not cover the bag. A sac fly by Tyler White put the first run on the board for either side. The 'Cats pushed another across after a RBI single by Ronnie Mitchell in the second.
ValleyCats starter Tanner Bushue was pulled from this game after two-plus innings because of a callus on his throwing hand. Troy Scribner relieved him and gave up the lead immediately. A bunt RBI single by B.J. Boyd and a two-RBI double by Healy quickly gave the Monsters a 3-2 lead.
Vermont scored three more in the fourth thanks to back-to-back doubles by Boyd and Healy, plating a total of three runs.
Tri-City made it interesting in the bottom of the eighth. Trailing 9-3, Ernesto Genoves singled to center field and would score on a pinch-hit double by Adam Nelubowich. A single for Ramsay and walk to Dineen would load the bases. Conrad Gregor singled to the second baseman Melvin Mercedes, scoring Nelubowich and Ramsay. Newcomer Yonathan Mejia struck out to end the threat. The 'Cats trimmed the deficit in half in just one inning with one to go.
Genoves tried to start another rally in the bottom of the ninth, but Ydarqui Marte and Jack Mayfield would both fly out to end the game.
"Anytime you score six runs, you should be able to win," said Manager Ed Romero. "Our pitching has given up too many hits and too many runs lately. We need to fix that."
The ValleyCats lead the Lowell Spinners in the Stedler Division by three games before Thursday night's doubleheader. After the three-game series with the Lake Monsters the lead was down to a half of a game. The Spinners and ValleyCats have a two-game series in Lowell Saturday and Sunday before the 'Cats return home for the last three games of the year.
"It's time to turn the page," said ValleyCats outfielder Ronnie Mitchell.
The ValleyCats return home on Labor Day to start the final series of the regular season. Tri-City will square off against the Brooklyn Cyclones to wrap up the 2013 season. Tickets are still available for all three games, including the Labor Day picnic before Monday's game. To purchase tickets go to tcvalleycats.com or call 518-629-CATS.