ABERDEEN, MD - Unable to ride home an early lead, the Tri-City ValleyCats suffered their second series loss of the 2019 season Wednesday evening, falling for the second straight night at the Aberdeen IronBirds. The Birds locked up their second straight win over the 'Cats by a score of 12-6 at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, Maryland.
Aiming to bounce back from Tuesday's 4-3 series-opening setback, the ValleyCats (1-4) used the top of the first inning to take an early lead, with 2019 24th round draft pick Preston Pavlica coming home on an RBI groundout from Korey Lee after notching a leadoff double for his first professional hit. The IronBirds (4-2) would fire back to take a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the frame, with shortstop Joseph Ortiz and second baseman Jean Carmona scoring on consecutive Tri-City passed balls.
Despite seeing shortstop Deury Carrasco knot the game at two in the top of the third off a fielding error, Aberdeen took hold of a lead they would never give back in the home half of the frame. After taking a leadoff triple off ValleyCats' starting pitcher Jayson Schroeder, the Birds unraveled the 2018 second round pick, scoring four runs off a wild pitch and three bases-loaded walks to take a 6-2 lead.
After right-hander Luis De Paula moved the game along with three strikeouts in two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief ball, the home team struck again off new pitcher Christian Mejias, soring five insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it an 11-2 game and spoil Mejias' ValleyCats debut. Aberdeen third baseman Toby Welk and center fielder Johnny Rizer each batted in a pair of runs with RBI doubles, while Ortiz struck again with an RBI infield single.
Looking to edge out some road resilliency, the 'Cats got back three runs in the top of the eighth, with designated hitter Nate Perry scoring Lee on an RBI double to right and them coming homself on an RBI come-backer to the pitcher from right-fielder Hector Martinez. Each team had one more run in them as the longest game of the season thus far for Tri-City came to a close, with another RBI double plating a run for Aberdeen and third baseman Joe Perez sending in Lee for the second time on the night with an RBI single to left.
Making his first start in a ValleyCats uniform, Schroeder (0-1) took the loss on two and one-third innings on the mound, striking out five and walking a career-high six batters while allowing six runs (four earned) on three hits. With each team using four arms on the night, IronBirds right-hander Ryan Conroy (1-0) earned the win with three strikeouts and as many walks
in five innings, on the bump, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits. Carrasco led Tri-City offensively on the night, going two-for-five with a walk and a run scored, while Lee crossed the place twice and notched an RBI after being issued three walks.
Following their second series loss in as many tries on the young season, the ValleyCats will looks to salvage a win in the final game of the three-game mid-week road trip. First pitch for Thursday's affair at Leidos Field is set for 7:05 p.m. The ValleyCats will then return home for a three-game home stand against Stedler Division rival Vermont this weekend, beginning Friday, June 21 at 7:00 p.m. at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.