AUGUSTA, NJ - After waiting 633 days to return to play following a rainout to conclude the 2019 season, the new-look Tri-City ValleyCats (1-0) made a statement to begin their tenure in the Frontier League. The 'Cats used late-game heroics to come up with a 2-1 comeback victory over the
AUGUSTA, NJ - After waiting 633 days to return to play following a rainout to conclude the 2019 season, the new-look Tri-City ValleyCats (1-0) made a statement to begin their tenure in the Frontier League. The 'Cats used late-game heroics to come up with a 2-1 comeback victory over the Sussex County Miners (0-1) to kickoff the 2021 season on the road.
Tri-City, who kicked off a six-game road trip at Skylands Stadium in Augusta, New Jersey against its newfound Northeast rivals, were held steady behind solid pitching on the mound, with only two hits allowed during the two-hour and 41 minute contest. The 'Cats gave first-year manager Pete Incaviglia his first win at the helm of the team, and kicked off a scheduled 96-game slate in their new home league.
Both teams began their tenures in the league with strong pitching, as the game went scoreless into the bottom of the sixth before the Miners found the scoreboard following an error to take a 1-0 lead. ValleyCats right-hander Carlos Sano struck out seven while allowing the unearned run off the only two hits given up by the 'Cats in the game in five and two-thirds no-decision innings, while Sussex County's Tyler Alexander (0-1) suffered a hard-luck loss in eight and one-third frames despite collecting a franchise record 12 strikeouts on the night.
The 'Cats, who put up eight hits to begin the season, were carried along by winning pitcher Samuel Perez (1-0), who struck out four and allowed just one base-runner in two and one-third relief innings to keep the game at a one-run difference entering the ninth.
Tri-City's offense finally came together in the top of the final frame, with shortstop Carson Maxwell blasting a triple to the wall with two outs to send home first baseman Francis Martinez and tie the game. The rally was completed on the next batter, with right fielder Avery Tuck scoring Maxwell from third on an RBI single that secured the crooked inning. Right-hander Trey Cochran-Gill collected the save in the bottom of the ninth with a pair of strikeouts to shut the door and secure the road victory. Seven different 'Cats took home hits to start the year, with designated hitter and former major leaguer Denis Phipps recording a multi-hit night.
Tri-City's five-game series to open the season will continue in the Garden State on Friday, May 28, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Right-hander Josh Hiatt will toe the rubber for the 'Cats' while Billy Layne Jr. will get the start for the Miners.