It was quite an amazing weekend for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they are still in the playoff hunt after sweeping the Vermont Lake Monsters in a three game series over a weekend that included 24 runs scored and a 13-strikeout performance by starting pitcher Robert Gsellman in Vermont on Saturday.
FRIDAY (10-2 win over the Lake Monsters)
The tone was set on Friday when the Cyclones, who have struggled on offense all season, slugged their way to a 10-2 victory in Vermont behind a great starting performance by Miller Diaz, who struck out 11 in seven shutout innings, for the win.
The ‘Clones wasted no time as they scored three runs on a RBI single by L.J. Mazilli, an error, and a ground out to make it 3-0. Then an Eris Peguero RBI single and another ground-out RBI made it 5-0 in the third, but an Alex Sanchez grand slam really broke the game open 9-0 in the fourth.
From that point on it was just cruise control. Diaz gave up just three hits and three walks while striking out 11 over seven shutout innings. He never really got into trouble the entire time. Juan Urbina came in for the eighth and ninth and surrendered a couple of runs on a bases-loaded double, but that hardly mattered.
SATURDAY (2-0 win over the Lake Monsters)
Saturday’s game was quite a bit closer as the Cyclones scored just two runs, their typical run production, which stood up as Robert Gsellman was completely dominant in a 2-0 win in the second game of a three-game road series.
Gsellman is already having one of the best seasons in Brooklyn Cyclones history and this was probably the best game of the year for him. He tossed eight innings, didn’t allow any runs, struck out 13, and only gave up two base hits and a walk. Only one runner got past first base, Herschel Powell, who stole second and moved to third on a fly out, as Gsellman’s ERA on the season dropped to a microscopic 1.60.
Gsellman was so brilliant that the two runs the Cyclones scored in the first inning were able to stand up. Those runs came courtesy of L.J. Mazzilli who smacked a two-run homer to right off Vermont’s starter Brent Powers. They would only get one other runner past first the rest of the game, but that doesn’t matter when the pitching is so dominant.
SUNDAY (12-5 win over the Lake Monsters)
The Cyclones had their biggest offensive game of the season and one of the greatest in the team’s history as they tied a Brooklyn record with four home runs in one game en route to an easy 12-5 victory to finish off the road sweep.
Jared King hit the first homer, a solo shot to lead off the third inning, off of Vermont’s starter Cristhian Perez to take a 4-2 lead. Two batters later Alex Sanchez hit his second homer of the weekend to make it 5-2. L.J. Mazzilli hit his second homer of the weekend, a three-run shot in the seventh inning off of reliever Bobby Wahl that made it 11-4, and James Roche capped off the excitement with a homer off Wahl in the eighth inning to make it 12-4.
Akeel Morris made his second start of the season, but it did not go nearly as well as the first as he was chased with two outs in the second inning after he walked the bases loaded.
• Even with the sweep the Cyclones are still half a game behind the Aberdeen IronBirds for first place in the McNamara division as the IronBirds took two of three over the weekend. With just 10 games left in the season they are all but eliminated in the Wild Card chase as they sit 5.5 games behind the Jamestown Jammers.
• The Cyclones are at their high-water mark for the season at three games over .500 (34-31). That’s the first time since July 27 they are more or less than two games away from .500.
• If the Cyclones can finish the season with a better than .500 record, they will continue their streak of finishing with a winning record every year since the franchise opened in 2001.