LOWELL, MA - Hudson Valley centerfielder Jake Fraley belted a solo homer in the 11th inning, and the bullpen turned in another solid performance to propel the Renegades to a 6-5 win over the Lowell Spinners Wednesday night at Edward A. LeLacheur Park. With the win, Hudson Valley takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three New York-Penn League semifinal series. With one more win, the Renegades would move to the championship series against either State College or Staten Island.
The Renegades got a big boost on the road thanks to a four-run second inning, which allowed them to take control of the game early. First baseman Nate Lowe started the inning with a walk before moving to third on a line-drive double to left from designated hitter Jose Rojas. Rightfielder Angel Perez stood in next and blooped a single to right to score Lowe and move Rojas to third.
Rojas scored when the next hitter, shortstop Bill Pujols, lined a single to right, which also allowed Perez to go to third. Centerfielder Jake Fraley came to the plate next and reached on a throwing error from Lowell first baseman Tucker Tubbs on a groundball. Perez scored on the play and Pujols moved to second to make it 3-0. After that, second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni stroked a groundball single to center, which allowed Pujols to score from second and give Hudson Valley a 4-0 lead. That hit chased Lowell starter Michael Shawaryn from the game after allowing four runs, three earned, on five hits in only 1.2 innings pitched.
However, the lead did not last as timely hitting by Lowell and some poor play by Hudson Valley allowed the Spinners to get back into the game off of Renegades ace Travis Ott. In the third, with one out, rightfielder Chris Madera drew a walk. Shortstop C.J. Chatham followed with a lined double to center, which scored Madera and put the Spinners on the board.
In the fourth, Lowell plated two runs, sparked by a Hudson Valley error. Tubbs started the inning by lifting a fly ball to Perez. However, the rightfielder overran the ball, which fell in for a two-base error. Centerfielder Yoan Aybar stepped in next and looped a double to right. Tubbs, who had to see if the ball would drop in, only made it to second, and the Spinners had runners at second and third with no one out.
Second baseman Carlos Tovar was the next hitter and hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Tubbs and bring the Spinners to within two as Aybar also tagged at second and moved to third. Catcher Nick Sciortino followed with a groundout to second to plate Aybar and make the score 4-3.
Lowell finally tied the game in the fifth as Chatham started the inning with a groundball double to left. Leftfielder Tyler Hill followed with a sac bunt to the catcher, which moved Chatham to third. He would score when Ott uncorked a wild pitch to the next hitter to tie the score at four.
More poor play allowed for Lowell to take the lead in the sixth as they scored in their fourth consecutive inning. With one out, Sciortino singled to center and then moved to second on a groundout. Chatham kept the inning alive as he reached on an infield single to short to put runners at the corners with two out. That's when Hill stepped in and grounded a ball to Renegades third-baseman Jim Haley. Jim's throw to first, however, was wide of the bag and got by Lowe, which allowed Sciortino to score and gave Lowell their first lead of the game at 5-4.
The Renegades would show a little moxie though, as they plated a run in the seventh to tie the game. Centerfielder Jake Fraley started the inning with a hustle double on a soft line drive to left. With one out, Fraley stole third then scored on a groundball single to center by second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni to tie the game at five.
The score remained that way as the Renegades squandered a great chance to take the lead in the eighth. With one out, Perez lined a single to left then stole second. With two out, Fraley grounded a ball back to relief pitcher Dioscar Romero which appeared was going to finish the inning, but Romero booted the ball allowing Fraley to reach first and for Perez to go to third. However, on the play, Perez took too big of a turn at third as the first baseman Tubbs fired to third and got Perez caught in a rundown between third and home. Angel was eventually tagged out to end the inning.
Hudson Valley had another chance in the ninth. Leftfielder Garrett Whitley started the inning with a grounder into left, Mastrobuoni sacrificed him to second, and Haley was hit with a pitch to put runners at first and second with one out. Lowe grounded into a fielder's choice to second, as Haley was retired, to put runners at the corners with two away when Rojas struck out swinging to end the threat against Romero.
Likewise, Lowell got runners to second and third with two out in the bottom of the ninth, however Renegades reliever Spencer Jones got Tubbs to ground out to second to send the game into extra innings.
The game stayed tied until the 11th when Fraley led off with his first homer of the postseason, and second of the season. It was a long fly ball over the leftfield wall to give the Renegades the 6-5 lead. Closer Joe Serrapica tossed a scoreless 11th inning, while allowing a walk, to nail down the save and give Hudson Valley the win.
Jones (1-0) got the win for Hudson Valley after throwing two scoreless innings and striking out one on three hits. He followed reliever J.D. Busfield who turned in a strong performance in place of a struggling Ott. Busfield allowed an earned run on four hits in 3.1 innings. He also walked one and struck out another. Ott finished the game allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits in 4.2 innings. He also walked four and struck out six.
The loss went to Lowell's Romero (0-1) who gave up the game-winning homer to Fraley. The right-hander allowed three hits in 3.2 innings.
Each team had 13 hits in the game. Hudson Valley got a 3-5 performance from Mastrobuoni who also drove in two runs. Fraley, Whitley and Perez each had two hits. Fraley went 2-5 with the homer, a double, two runs scored and two RBI. Whitley had two singles and Perez went 2-5 with a run scored and another run driven in.
Lowell got three hits apiece from Chatham, Hill and Tubbs. Chatham had two doubles and a run scored, while Hill drove in two runs on three singles. Tubbs had three singles and scored a run as well. Aybar chipped in with two hits, including a double and a run.
The Renegades now head home and go for the sweep against Lowell in game two of the best-of three series. Right-hander Adrian Navas (5-2, 2.39 ERA) will take the hill for Hudson Valley against southpaw Jason Groome (3.38 ERA) of Lowell. First-pitch is slated for 6:35. For tickets, call 845-838-0094 or go to hvrenegades.com.