to set a franchise record for consecutive victories with a win tonight, the Brooklyn Cyclones would waste a great outing by
Eric Brown and would fail to produce any type of offense, ending a 12-game winning streak in a 1-0 loss to the Tri-City Valley
Getting the start tonight for Brooklyn
was the undefeated Brown, who has been absolutely fantastic in four starts this season, amassing a 1.69 ERA with only two
walks in 26.2 innings. Keeping the infield busy with a ton of ground-ball outs in all of his starts, Brown has thriven on
getting opposing hitters to swing at bad pitches and hasn’t made many mistakes. Today, Brown was on his game again,
throwing three shutout innings before giving up a run in the fourth.
“We’ve won 12 in a row
and we’ve been playing some great baseball,” said Brown, who pitched 7.1 innings today for Brooklyn, allowing
only one run with eight strikeouts, but still managed to pickup his first loss of the season. “The other guy just pitched
better than me.”
Despite another solid performance
by Brown, Tri-City’s starting pitcher and Brooklyn-native David Qualben was that much better, hurling seven-shutout
innings of his own, holding the Cyclones to only two hits. When Tri-City manager Gregg Langbehn decided to give Qualben the hook, the fans at Keyspan gave the youngster who grew up in Bay Ridge a
huge applause, with Qualben chants echoing throughout the park.
“Oh god, it was amazing,” said
Qualben. “All my friends and family were here and ever since the day I was drafted, the first thing I looked for was
if I was going to have the chance to pitch in Brooklyn.”
“He was a crafty lefty, just
hitting his spots well and changing speeds,” said Cyclones designated hitter Mark Wright, who had the one of the two
hits off of Qualben, a single in the second. “He did a great job. All you can do is tip your hat to him.”
Regardless of how well Qualben pitched,
he did benefit from crucial base running blunders from the Cyclones, picking off both Jon Schemmel and Jonathan Sanchez, cutting
the chord on any chance the team had at mounting a comeback.
“I think their pitchers did
a great job,” said Cyclones manager George Greer. “They deserved to win.”
Grady Hinchman would relieve Brown
in eighth with one out and despite giving up a single and a walk; Hinchman would keep the score at 1-0, giving the Cyclones
an ample opportunity to strike back with Valley Cats strikeout artist Victor Garate (45 K’s in 28 innings) replacing
Qualben in the bottom of the eighth.
However, Garate, like Qualben was equally
impressive for the Valley Cats, as the only offense Brooklyn could muster in the eighth was an Elvis
Cruz pinch-hit single before Garate eventually struck out the side. Garate would continue to shut down the Cyclones in the
ninth, earning his sixth save of the season, giving the Valley Cats a 1-0 win.
Playing phenomenal baseball over the past
three weeks, the Cyclones weren’t happy to see this one get by them, but understand that all winning streaks have come
to an end sometime. Wright believes the team will have no problem bouncing back after a hard luck loss like this one and with
one of their best pitchers, Tobi Stoner, on the mound tomorrow, the team has to stay focused on maintaining its position atop
the McNamara Division.
“You can’t do it every
night,” said Wright. “We know we can’t win every game every night, it’s a long season. The 12-game
winning streak was tremendous for us and got us tied for first place and that’s where we want to be right now.”