Two out of three ain’t good when you’re a struggling team trying to get back in the playoff hunt. But after a can’t-hold-the-lead loss in Jamestown on Friday night, the Cyclones split the first two games of a home series against the State College Spikes, setting up a must-win rubber game on Monday night at Keyspan Park (not that home cooking is helping the 12-14 Cyclones get out of last place: they’re only 6–7 within the friendly confines of Keyspan).
July 11 at Jamestown
The Clones got great starting pitching from Jeff Kaplan, who pitched the first five frames, scattering four hits and striking out five. Meanwhile, Cyclone bats came alive in the sixth. After a Reese Havens walk and a Zach Lutz single, Ike Davis (15-game hitting streak!) knocked in a run and Seth Williams hit a sac fly. But that was all she wrote for the Cyclones. In the seventh, reliever Matias Carillo put two men on, and then reliever Brandon Moore walked two in a row, giving up a run in the process. Then reliever Jimmy Johnson promptly served up a double to cap the scoring.
July 12 at Keyspan Park
You aren’t going to win many games when you only get three hits, and that was the story here. Starting pitcher Scott Shaw (1–1) was hit hard in the third, giving up two doubles, and the only run on the night. Overall, he went six innings and struck out six. The game witnessed the return of Cyclones 2001 star Angel Pagan, currently a Met outfielder who began a two-game assignment to rehab his injured shoulder. Pagan was 0–3 with a stolen base — and the swipe brought back memories of Pagan’s 2001 all-star season, when he hit .315 and stole a franchise-record 30 bases.
July 13 at Keyspan Park
Bradley Holt earned his second win on the season with seven scoreless (and dominating!) innings, and striking out 10. The Cyclones got all they needed with a Zach Lutz RBI single in the third and a Sean Ratliff ground-rule double in the fourth. Relievers Yury Santana and Stephen Clyne shut the door on the spikes. Angel Pagan, making his second rehab start with his former team, went 1-for-4 and stole another base. And he showed off that cannon of a right arm, gunning down a Spikes baserunner trying to score from second on a single to right. The crowd went wild.