LOWELL, MA- The Tri-City ValleyCats topped the Lowell Spinners 2-1 on Sunday thanks to a combination of solid pitching and opportune hitting.
One night after scoring 11 runs in a shutout victory over the host Spinners, the ValleyCats struck first again on Sunday when leadoff hitter Marc Wik singled, stole second, and eventually came home to score on an A.J. Reed's RBI groundout.
That 1-0 lead held up in the early going, as ValleyCats lefthander Sebastian Kessay struck out seven of the first nine Lowell batters he faced. But in the bottom of the fourth inning, Spinners second baseman Deinar Lopez broke up Kessay's perfect start with a one-out single. Franklin Guzman then drove home Lopez with a fielder's choice groundout to tie the game at one run a piece.
Fortunately for the 'Cats, the tie did not last long, as third baseman J.D. Davis led off the sixth inning with a triple, then scored on an RBI by designated hitter Ricky Gingras.
Tri-City right hander Francis Ramirez, who relieved Kessay to start the fifth inning, gave way to fellow right hander Derick Velazquez with two outs and Spinners runners on the corners in the bottom of the seventh. Despite the jam he inherited, Velazquez was unfazed by the pressure, striking out Lowell shortstop Raymel Flores to preserve the ValleyCats' 2-1 lead.
Velazquez then proceeded to retire the Spinners in order in the bottom of the eighth before giving way to 'Cats closer Chris Munnelly, who worked a perfect one-two-three bottom of the ninth to clinch the victory for Tri-City.
The save by Munnelly was his second of the season, while Ramirez (1-1) earned his first win of the year thanks his two and a third innings of scoreless relief. Those two hurlers, along with Kessay and Velazquez, combined to allow only five hits while striking out 13 batters.
The win cements a 3-2 road trip for the ValleyCats, who took two out of three from the Spinners after splitting two games on the road against the Vermont Lake Monsters. Tri-City will now head home to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to host the Lake Monsters for a two-game set. RHP Austin Chrismon (1-1, 4.50) will get the start for the 'Cats in game one, opposing Vermont RHP Joe Michaud (1-1, 3.75).
Tomorrow's game, a 7:00pm start, will be the Night of Champions, celebrating local champions from around the Capital Region. There will also be a Desktop Replica Championship Ring Giveaway to the first 1,500 fans. Representatives from the National Baseball Hall of Fame will also be on hand showcasing artifacts straight from Cooperstown, including a 1928 model mitt from Troy native Johnny Evers, who earned election to the Hall of Fame after a stellar 18-year big league career, David Ortiz's batting gloves from July 4, 2012 when he hit his 400th home run, Derek Jeter's bat from Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, and Jeff Bagwell's spikes from the 2000 season when he set a National League record with 295 runs scored over a two-year span.
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