TROY, NY - The ValleyCats clawed back to retake the Stedler Division lead Sunday night, defeating the Lowell Spinners 7-4. The 'Cats now lead the division by a half a game with three games remaining in the 2013 regular season.
Lowell tried to bury Tri-City early, striking for four quick runs off 'Cats starter Michael Feliz. After inducing a groundout to the leadoff man Carlos Asuaje, five straight Spinners reached base to give the Red Sox affiliate an early 4-0.
Feliz was sensational after that point. He only allowed one other hit after the first inning. Overall, Feliz pitched seven innings and allowed four runs (none after the first inning) on five hits. The 'Cats starter only walked two and struck out ten.
The ValleyCats gave their starter some run support in the top of the third inning. Outfielder Jon Kemmer walked to kick things off. Singles by Jake Rodriguez, Chan Moon, and James Ramsay plated Kemmer and the 'Cats first run of the night. Ryan Dineen hit a sacrifice fly to center field to cut Lowell's four-run lead in half. After a Tyler White walk to load the bases, Conrad Gregor hit a two-run single to tie the score at four.
"Tonight we did a great job [coming back]," said Manager Ed Romero. "These guys battled, had the confidence, and never quit and went out there. It's a great sign to see especially this late in the season."
Tri-City took its first lead of the night in the top of the seventh. White singled with one out and was pushed to third on a double by Gregor. Ronnie Mitchell hit an RBI single to give the 'Cats a 5-4 lead.
The ValleyCats padded the lead the very next inning thanks to a couple of Spinner mistakes. Chan Moon doubled and Ramsay walked to set the stage for Dineen. With the 'Cats second baseman at the plate, Spinners catcher Danny Bethea allowed a passed ball to put both runners in scoring position. Dineen would be intentionally walked, giving Tyler White a shot. White would reach on an error by third baseman Nick Moore, scoring Moon. Gregor hit a sac-fly to center to score Ramsay, pushing the ValleyCats lead to three.
Gonzalo Sanudo pitched two innings to pick up his seventh save of the season. He is a perfect seven for seven in save opportunities.
The Tri-City ValleyCats return home Labor Day for the team's final home series of the 2013 regular season. The first game with the Brooklyn Cyclones starts Monday evening at 5 pm, with a picnic held before the game. Tickets for the game and the picnic are available at tcvalleycats.com or by calling 518-629-CATS.