The Brooklyn Cyclones used a strong pitching performance from Yohan Almonte and power hitting to break out the brooms and finish off a three-game sweep of the Aberdeen IronBirds Friday night with a final score of 11-3. Almonte pitched 6.1 innings of shutout ball, while the Brooklyn offense slammed three home runs in the rout.
Brooklyn continued its torrid hitting this year, getting to IronBirds starter Justin Anderson early. Shortstop Rylan Sandoval led off the game by pulling an Anderson pitch high over the left field wall for his seventh homer of the year and a 1-0 lead. Centerfielder Darrell Ceciliani followed up with a single, but Anderson minimized the damage by not allowing another baserunner.
Anderson kept the Cyclone bats in check the best he could until the fifth inning, when Brooklyn hung seven runs on the board, including five off of Anderson. Catcher Blake Forsythe led off with a single to right. Then leftfielder Will Cherry tripled to right field to score Forsythe before second baseman J.B. Brown singled to center to score Cherry and put Brooklyn up 3-0. Brown then stole second and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice by Sandoval.
Brown scored on Ceciliani’s triple to right and then Ceciliani scored on rightfielder Cory Vaughn’s single to left. This spelled the end for Anderson, leaving with a 5-0 deficit and Vaughn on first. Lefthander Will Startup came out of the bullpen and promptly gave up a double to centerfield to first baseman Jeff Flagg to put Brooklyn up 6-0. Startup struck out designated hitter Joe Bonfe to record the second out of the inning. But third baseman Brian Harrison launched a Startup pitch deep to left field off the top of the visitor’s clubhouse to make the lead 8-0. Forsythe followed up with his second single of the inning, but Startup got Cherry to ground out to end the seven-run Brooklyn inning.
Anderson’s night lasted only 4.1 innings. He was charged six earned runs on eight hits and a walk. This was only the second start this year for Anderson where he gave up more than three earned runs.
“I just wasn’t making my pitches,” Anderson said. “I was leaving them up and just out over the plate. When I do that, everything kind of flattens out and that’s when they’re hitting it. If I get on top and throw down in the zone, I get better tilt to my pitches and I just wasn’t doing that, I was just wasn’t executing.”
“Outs weren’t really easy to come by tonight,” manager Gary Kendall said. “They had some hard hit balls and hit some balls at some people. But [Anderson] just seemed to find his groove before a rough fifth inning.”
“I wasn’t really struggling with a pitch, I just wasn’t really getting on top,” Anderson said. “I was just rushing, not really getting on top of the baseball. When I do that, everything just kind of stays at belt high and that’s how the hitters like it.”
“[Anderson’s pitching] didn’t have any finish to it,” Kendall added. “He kept the ball in the middle of the plate. He didn’t have much angle to it going down. He seemed to elevate it. They’re a good hitting team, you can’t make mistakes against a team like that.”
Startup pitched a scoreless sixth inning, but was tagged for another run in the seventh, when Vaughn lifted a pitch just over leftfielder Kipp Schutz’s glove for a solo shot, his tenth of the year.
Aberdeen’s lone run off Almonte came in the bottom of the seventh when Sammie Starr scored on a sacrifice fly by rightfielder Blair Dunlap to make the score 9-1.
Almonte’s night was done after the seventh. He gave up an unearned run on three hits and struck out four batters.
Ashur Tolliver gave up two runs on the top of the eighth making the score 11-1 and then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.
Aberdeen had a miniature rally in the bottom of the eighth against Brian Needham, loading the bases with no outs. Starr came through for the offense, lining a two-out single up the middle to score catcher Dashenko Ricardo and shortstop Michael Rooney and make the score 11-3.
First baseman David Anderson walked to load the bases, bringing Dunlap up against Samuel Taveres. Dunlap sent a bloop single towards right field, but Kurt Steinhauer made a nice running catch to end the threat.
Aberdeen travels to Hudson Valley for a weekend series with the Renegades. The IronBirds send Scott Copeland (1-3, 3.09) to the mound against the Renegades’ Devin Fuller (1-3, 6.19) for game one, while Tyler Sexton (1-3, 7.75) gets the call for Aberdeen against Nate Garcia (2-1, 2.66) in game two. The IronBirds return home on Monday, August 2 for a five-game homestand against the Staten Island Yankees and Jamestown Jammers. Tim Adleman (1-2, 3.28) is projected to get the nod for Aberdeen in game one of the series against Staten Island. The Yankees are scheduled to start Mikey O’Brien (6-1, 1.99).
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