It’s all even! Cyclones force Game 3 in playoff series

It’s all even! Cyclones force Game 3 in playoff series
Community Newspaper Group / Vince DiMiceli

The Cyclones evened up their playoff series with the Yankees with a resounding road win on the Rock, plastering their cross-Harbor rivals, 12–5, in a 16-hit barrage.

It was a pretty ugly game, with five errors, multiple wild pitches and plenty of balls lost in the sun of the beautiful, “Let’s play two” conditions on Staten Island. But Cyclone bats overcame their poor fielding.

And the hitters came alive with their backs to the wall after being shutout in Game 1 and managing only two hits on the night.

“That’s baseball, and I wish someone could explain it to me,” said Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly after the game. “On Thursday, we looked like we had never been on a field in our lives. Today, we swung the bats — boom, boom, boom. You can’t figure it out. You score 12 one day after a game when you can’t get a guy to third.”

The Clones got on the board first, albeit in less-than-mighty fashion. After Cole Frenzel was hit by a pitch, Brian Harrison hit a can of corn to left that was lost by Cody Grice in the brilliant blue sky, allowing Frenzel to score.

In the home second, Rey Nunez led off with a single, which was promptly followed by a Casey Stevenson single to center. But instead of throwing to second and holding Stevenson, centerfielder Travis Taijeron tried to get the speedy Nunez at third, allowing Stevenson to go to second on the throw. Both runners scored on Zach Wilson’s single.

But the Yanks were outdone by a two-out error by shortstop Cito Culver to load the bases in the next frame — and Frenzel promptly delivered a two-run single to regain the lead, 3–2. Another error allowed Richard Lucas to score, but Brian Harrison struck out looking with runners on second and third to end the threat.

More errors led to the Yankees third run. Mason “Major Leaguer” Williams led off with a single, then stole second — on a pitchout! Catcher Xorge Carillo’s throw eluded shortstop Daniel Muno, allowing Williams to sprint to third — and then second baseman Brandon Brown didn’t put the ball in his pocket, tossing it into the Yankee dugout to allow Williams to score.

But Charley Thurber’s two-out, two-run blast to right in the fourth made the score 6–3.

In the fifth, Harrison smoked a two-out double to extend the lead to 7–3, chasing staring pitcher Bryan Mitchell.

Cyclones starter Jeff Walters gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases in the fifth, sending him to the showers after just 4-1/3 innings. It was another mediocre performance in a season of them.

Reliever Rafael Montero promptly gave up a two-run single to make the score, 7–5. And centerfielder Travis Taijeron bobbled the ball in center, putting runners on the corners. He got the next two batters without issue.

The Cyclones got another run — again thanks to Yankee sloppiness — in the sixth. Daniel Muno singled and advanced to second on a balk. He scored on Javier Rodriguez’s two-out single.

The Clones kept on adding insurance runs. In the seventh, Richard Lucas singled, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch — then scored on Harrison’s bleeder to right. Brandon Brown followed with a single to score another run to make it 10–5.

Lucas added two more with and monster homer to right in the eighth.

The win extends the best-of-three series to a climactic Game 3 on Saturday night in Staten Island.

Charlier Thurber's two-run homer in the fourth gave the Clones a lede they never lost.
Photo by Tom Callan