ABERDEEN, MD - Despite needing a win to have a chance at the league's best record, the Hudson Valley Renegades used Monday afternoon's 2-0 loss to the Aberdeen Ironbirds more as a tune-up to the New York-Penn League playoffs. The Renegades used six different pitchers and pinch-hit their leading homerun hitter as the tying run in the ninth. The defeat assured the Renegades of the number two seed in the playoffs while State College clinched the one seed. The win by Aberdeen meant a sweep of the Renegades in the two-game set. It was the first time Hudson Valley had been swept in a series since a 6/22-6/24 three-game sweep against Lowell.
Aberdeen had a chance to strike early by putting runners at first and third with no one out in the second. However, Renegades starter Noel Rodriguez got back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to shortstop to get out of the jam.
The Ironbirds, however, would not be held back in the fourth as they scored two runs off reliever Luis Nunez. With one out and the bases empty, leftfielder Jaylen Ferguson singled to center and then stole second. Third baseman Collin Woody came up next and laced a double to left to score Ferguson to put Aberdeen on the board. After the next man was retired for out number two, second baseman Kirvin Moesquit lined a single to right to score Woody and make the score 2-0.
The Renegades had a chance to get back in the game in the sixth when they put runners at first and second with one out. However, the Ironbirds went to reliever Joe Johnson who came into the game and got third baseman Jim Haley to strikeout, and first baseman Nate Lowe to ground out to second to end the inning.
Hudson Valley threatened again in the ninth. Haley led off the inning with a double and would later steal third. However, pinch hitter Joe Olson struck out, designated hitter Jose Rojas grounded to the mound, and catcher Chris Betts flew out to center to end the game.
Four Ironbirds pitchers held Hudson Valley to only four hits. Two of them came from Haley whose double in the ninth was the only extra-base hit for the Renegades.
On the other hand, Aberdeen had nine hits including two singles from shortstop Alejandro Juvier.
Getting the win for Aberdeen was reliever Nick Vespi (1-0) who tossed 2.1 scoreless innings despite giving up two hits and walking three in his first appearance as an Ironbird. The loss went o Nunez (1-1) who allowed both of the game's runs on four hits in two frames. He also struck out three. Reliever James Teague picked up his second save after tossing two scoreless innings on a hit and walking two. He also struck out one.
The Renegades now head to Lowell for the first-round of the New York-Penn League playoffs Wednesday against the Lowell Spinners in a best-of-three series. Starting pitchers for the series have not been announced. Game one will be played in Massachusetts with games two and, if necessary, three to be played at Dutchess Stadium. All games are scheduled to begin at 6:35. For tickets, call 845-838-0094 or go to hvrenegades.com.