Valdez' Heroics Fuel Eight-run Eruption In ValleyCats' Win

Jun 21, 2018; Troy, NY, USA; [CAPTION] during the first inning of the game at Joe Bruno Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-SportsThroughTheLens.com (Gregory Fisher)

By Steven Cusumano / Tri-City ValleyCats | June 21, 2018 10:28 PM

The Tri-City ValleyCats rode an eight-run third inning to their series-opening win against the Lowell Spinners on Thursday night, behind three hits from Enmanuel Valdez.

Valdez went 3-for-4 on the night, picking up his New York-Penn League-leading third home run of the season and team-leading second stolen base.

Hitting at the top of the order for his first time with the ValleyCats, Valdez ended up reaching base in all four of his trips to the plate, coming up a triple shy of the cycle.

Although he didn't pick up a run-batted-in on the play, Valdez brought home the ValleyCats' first run of the day in the third inning, when he reaching on a throwing error by Lowell shortstop Andre Colon.

The error brought home Juan Pineda to tie the score at 1-1.

Lowell third baseman Garrett Benge then committed a fielding error on the very next play, that allowed Alex Holderbach to score and give the ValleyCats a 2-1 lead. 

After Wielansky came around to score on a wild pitch, Ramiro Rodriguez drove in Luis Encarnacion with a base hit to make it 4-1 Tri-City.

Carlos Machado then brought home Gilberto Celestino with a single, but the highlight play of the inning came from Marty Costes.

Costes, who started his Minor League career by going 0-for-11, drove his first career hit into the left-center field gap to plate Rodriguez and Machado in prolonging the ValleyCats' provisional seven-run eruption.

Costes motored into third base on the play, hitting the ValleyCats' first triple of the season.

Juan Pineda finally ended the inning by bringing Ramiro Rodriguez home on a base hit that made the score 8-1 Tri-City at the time.

The ValleyCats' eight-run third inning was a season-high, and it came just one day after they scored seven runs in the third inning of Wednesday night's win in Aberdeen.

Enmanuel Valdez fittingly capped Tri-City's scoring with a solo blast in the fourth inning to give the ValleyCats their ninth run of the game.

By the time the night was all said and done, the ValleyCats collected a season-high 10 hits, winning back-to-back games for the first time in 2018.

The game was started for the ValleyCats by right-handed pitcher Jose Hernandez, who is on a rehab assignment for High-A Buies Creek.

Hernandez, who underwent Tommy John Surgery and sat out the entire 2017 season, gave up one run in his two innings of work before handing the ball off to lefty Tim Hardy.

Hardy recorded outs on all four batters that he faced, before leaving the game with an apparent knee injury on his own power and qualifying for his first win of the year.

Hansel Paulino came out of the bullpen after Hardy, pitching two and two thirds of an inning, only allowing one hit with five strikeouts.

Juan Pablo Lopez pitched the final three innings for Tri-City to earn his first save of the year, allowing two unearned runs in the seventh off of an error by shortstop Juan Pineda.

Now above the .500 mark for the first time since their Opening Night win, the ValleyCats will try to lock down their second straight series win on Friday night against Lowell.

First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. ET, with coverage beginning on the Tri-City ValleyCats Radio Network with Steven Cusumano 30 minutes prior to first pitch.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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