It had been a fairly disappointing season for the Brooklyn Cyclones this year until a recent four game winning streak, including back-to-back wins against the Staten Island Yankees on Friday and Saturday, put them back on the right tracks as they try to find a way into the playoffs.
FRIDAY (2-0 win vs. Staten Island)
If Miller Diaz has emerged as the Brooklyn Cyclones’ ace this season then consider Robert Gsellman ace-1a as he has been phenomenal this season and he was again on Friday as he led the Cyclones to a 2-0 victory over the rival Staten Island Yankees.
Gsellman tossed seven shutout innings and allowed just two baserunners on back-to-back singles in the fourth inning. He retired 10 in a row before that and nine in a row afterwards as he completely shutdown the Yankees. Ricky Knapp followed his lead as he tossed two shutout innings in relief.
The Cyclones needed a game like that out of Gsellman as they continued to struggle offensively. Edward Rohan, who has struggled hitting just .242/.265/.394 in nine games this season, homered to right to put the Cyclones up 1-0 in the third inning. Rohan chipped in with a RBI-double in the fifth inning that scored Alex Sanchez to make it 2-0. Fortunately that was enough thanks to the Gsellman special.
SATURDAY (3-2 win vs. Staten Island)
The Cyclones got another good start from Miller Diaz and took advantage of some poor defense by the Yankees to beat them 3-2 on Saturday, sweeping the short two-game series in Staten Island.
The Cyclones struck in the very first inning when Patrick Biondi scored on a fielding error by Yankees shortstop Jose Rosario off the bat of Jared King to make it 1-0. The Yankees were leading 2-0 in the seventh when their defense let them down again. This time there were two outs and nobody on when Yankees second baseman Derek Toadvine booted one off the bat of Colton Plaia to keep the inning alive. That was followed by a Juan Carlos Gamboa single and a two-RBI single by Biondi that put the Cyclones up 3-2.
That was good enough for the Cyclones thanks to the pitching performances by Diaz and Kevin McGowan in relief. Diaz gave up just two runs over six innings with eight strikeouts. He could have had a strikeout if not for the fact that he was wild, walking four batters and uncorking a pair of wild pitches. McGowan pitched three innings with five strikeouts and just one hit allowed for his second save of the season.
The 2012 First round pick Gavin Cecchini played in his first game back since being sidelined with an ankle injury and went 1-for-4. He’s now hitting .242/.284/.290 during a disappointing season.
SUNDAY (4-2 win vs. Hudson Valley)
Sweeping the rival Yankees was a big deal, but beating Hudson Valley on Sunday could have been even bigger for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they attempt to salvage their season. The Cyclones yet again got good pitching and, thanks to their first multi-home run game of the season, got enough timely hitting for a 4-2 victory in Coney Island.
Jared King got them on the board in the first inning when he doubled in L.J. Mazzilli, who had reached on a single, to make it 1-0. After the Renegades tied it a 1-1 in the third, the Cyclones went ahead 3-1 in the fifth inning when Anthony Chavez hit a two-run home run. Hudson Valley made it 3-2 in the sixth, but in the seventh the Cyclones tacked on another run thanks to Alex Sanchez’s solo shot.
Meanwhile, John Gant started for the Cyclones and allowed just two runs, one earned, over six innings. Gant allowed one run in the third on a RBI-single by John Alexander that tied it at 1-1 at the time. That inning was made tougher thanks to a Chavez error, but it could have been worse had it not been for a caught stealing as catcher Tomas Nido threw Alexander out trying to swipe second. The only other run Gant allowed was in the sixth inning when he balked with the bases loaded. Like the third, that inning could have gotten away from him, but he bailed himself out with back-to-back strikeouts to escape the jam.
• Brooklyn is now just one game under .500 and three games out of first place in the McNamara division. They can cut that lead to just two games with a win against first-place Hudson Valley on Monday. The Cyclones are also just three games out of the wild card as they trail the Lowell Spinners in that race.
• Lefty Carlos Valdez will take the mound for Brooklyn against another lefty Chris Kirsch for Hudson Valley on Monday.