The Scrappers rolled into Troy, New York on Saturday night to square off against the best team in the New York-Penn League, the Tri-City ValleyCats. Despite collecting the same number of hits, the ValleyCat offense was more productive than the Scrappers, leading Tri-City to an 8-3 victory.
The real difference in the game was a disastrous bottom of the fifth. After jumping out to an early 1-0 lead and breezing through the first two innings, Scrapper starter Robbie Aviles was tagged for five in the third. The frame started with back-to-back homeruns from M.P. Corkinos and Dan Gulbransen to erase the lead and create a 2-1 deficit. Then, after loading the bases with one out, Aviles allowed a single to Tyler Heineman that plated another. It would have been two, but right fielder Juan Romero threw the second run out at the plate. With two runners on, Aviles then walked a batter and hit another to force home a fourth run.
Aviles was yanked in the third after the bases loaded plunking. He finished the day pitching only 2.2 innings, his shortest start of the year. He ended up allowing a fifth earned run when his replacement Josh Martin allowed one of his inherited runners to score on an RBI single. The rough start for Aviles can probably be at least partially chalked up to rust. Aviles made his last start on July 2nd, over a month ago. Since that start, he has only made three other appearances, all out of the bullpen.
The ValleyCats added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth against Martin to put the game virtually out of reach at 8-1. In the fifth, Martin issued a leadoff walk followed by an RBI single to make it 6-1. Then in the sixth, it was a one out walk and Neiko Johnson homerun to make it 8-1.
Before the third inning catastrophe, the Scrapper offense actually jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first, when Charlie Valerio had an RBI groundout to score Logan Vick, who led of the game with a single. After the third, though, they were never really able to string enough hits together to dig into the Tri-City lead. They put base runners on in the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth, but were only able to capitalize one time.
That one time was in the seventh, when they picked up two. Evan Frazar led of the inning with a single, and moved to second on a groundout. Robel Garcia delivered with a two-out RBI double to bring him home. Logan Vick followed with an RBI single of his own to make the score 8-3.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Scrappers would get, as Tri-City ended up walking away 8-3 winners. The starter Aviles took the loss, his second of the year, while Lance Day earned the win to move to 3-0. The Scrappers and ValleyCats will do battle again tomorrow afternoon, as they continue the series with a scheduled 5:05 start.