Post-season surprise! Superb pitching gives Clones shutout victory over Renegades

Clones in a Jam

Cyclones 4
Hudson Valley Renegades 0

Sept. 7 at MCU Park

A phenomenal nine-inning performance by NY-Penn League pitching leader Hansel Robles plus a scrappy offense equaled a shut-out victory for the Cyclones on Friday as the Pride of Coney Island took the first night of post-season play from the top-ranked Hudson Valley Renegades.

Robles struck out 10 and sent the Renegades offense down in order five times throughout the night — surrendering just four hits and zero walks — as Cyclones’ batters wasted no time getting on the scoreboard.

Centerfielder Brandon Nimmo kicked off the evening by slapping a grounder up the middle off Renegades starter Jesse Hahn in the first. He easily rounded the bases as Hahn plunked third baseman Dimas Ponce and Clones shortstop Phillip Evans grounded into a 5-4-3 double play — leaving Nimmo in scoring position when first baseman Jayce Boyd chopped a grounder to center.

The Mini-Mets racked up three more runs in a disastrous second frame for Hahn, who gave up a single to left fielder Stefan Sabol — who advanced to second on a bad throw by Renegades third baseman Richie Shaffer — and committed a fielding error on a sac bunt that allowed Clones second baseman Juan Carlos Gamboa to reach base, leaving him with runners on the corners with no outs. Hahn then gave up a double to designated hitter Jorge Rivero, which brought in Sabol, and intentionally walked Nimmo before giving up singles to Ponce and Evans — allowing Gamboa and Rivero to score in short order.

Hudson Valley kept Brooklyn from putting up another run, but it was already too late — Robles’s arm ensured that the Clones kept the lead in the first leg of the three-game playoff series.

The Cyclones, who held off a late charge from the Batavia Muckdogs so they could grab a playoff wild-card berth, will square off against the Renegades tonight in Wappingers Falls. If necessary, a third game will be held at Dutchess Stadium. The series winner will face the victor of the playoff clash between the Tri-City Valley Cats and the Auburn Doubledays on Sept. 10.