Troy, NY – Ahead 3-0 following a suspended game yesterday, the Ottawa Titans (46-34) surrendered six unanswered runs to drop game one 6-3, then fell 10-8 in a nail-biting finish in the nightcap to the Tri-City ValleyCats on Thursday evening.
Game 1: Tri-City 6, Ottawa 3
Picking things up with one out in the top of the fourth, Austin Faith (win, 1-2) managed to retire 11 of the 12 he faced to back the ValleyCats’ late rally. The righty went three and two-thirds in relief of Ryan Hartman, allowing no runs on no hits, striking out one. The only Titan to reach was AJ Wright, who was plunked in the fifth.
Gavin Sonnier was first out of the bullpen in game one, as the ValleyCats cued the comeback. As seven came to the dish, Dennis Phipps’ two-run homer got the home side on the board. Brad Zunica tied the game with a solo blast, capping off back-to-back homers.
In his first outing in over two months, Kyle Serrano (loss, 1-2) walked three in the fifth, as the ValleyCats tacked on a pair of runs. With runners on the corners, Brantley Bell poked a grounder to the mound and reached on a fielder’s choice, as Serrano tossed the ball into centre attempting a double play. Next, Phipps put the game out of reach with a sac fly, making it 5-3.
Three straight singles in the sixth off Nelson Gonzalez resulted in Austin Elder cashing in Jesus Lujano to cap off the six unanswered runs for the ValleyCats.
Game 2: Tri-City 10, Ottawa 8
Ryan Williamson (ND, 3-4) retired the first two in order in the first, before AJ Wright and Clay Fisher reached on two-out singles. Jason Dicochea ripped a double to the gap in left-centre, giving the Titans an early 2-0 lead.
The ValleyCats sent 11 to the dish against Chris Burica (loss, 7-5) in the bottom of the first, pushing across six. Pavin Parks and Joe Campagna had RBI singles, Brantley Bell cashed in one with a triple, while Brad Zunica and Carson McCusker went back-to-back with homers. The six runs allowed in the first ties a season-high, which saw the Titans allow six in an inning on July 12th in Trois-Rivières.
Jace Mercer and Joe Campagna tagged Burica for solo homers in the third, making it 8-2.
Brendon Dadson’s ninth homer of the season started a rally for the Titans in the fourth, with the Bowmanville native belting his ninth homer of the year, cutting the deficit to 8-3.
As the bottom of the order threatened, Jackie Urbaez scored a pair with a triple, when not long after, Rodrigo Orozco made it a two-run game with an RBI infield single.
With runners on the corners in the bottom of the fourth, Jason Dicochea attempted to throw out Jace Mercer at second, who was on the move. As neither middle infielder covered the bag at second, Dicochea’s throw from behind the plate ended up in centre, allowing Zunica to score from third.
Adam Hofackett (win, 9-4) allowed a pair to reach in the sixth, as Rodrigo Orozco smacked a two-run single up the middle. Orozco’s base hit brought the Titans within a run at 9-8.
The ValleyCats summoned righty Trey Cochran-Gill (save, 13) to face AJ Wright with the tying run aboard. Wright ripped a double down the left-field line, as Orozco attempted to score. A close call at the plate did not go the Titans’ way, as Orozco’s head-first slide at home appeared to beat the tag of catcher Austin Elder. Called out at the dish, the Titans’ rally was cut short.
Carson McCusker’s leadoff solo homer off Jose Taveras pushed the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth. A 1-2-3 seventh from Cochran-Gill capped off the doubleheader sweep for the ValleyCats.
In the nightcap defeat, the Titans allowed a season-high tying five homers. It was the first time an opponent knocked five long balls out of the yard since May 20 at Florence.
The Ottawa Titans continue the road trip on Friday night for the first of three against the Quebec Capitales at 7:05 p.m. from Stade Canac. All the action can be heard locally on CKDJ 107.9 and 94,5 Unique FM, while also being available worldwide at CKDJ.net and uniquefm.ca.
For information on Ottawa Titans’ 2022 season tickets, group outings, and 8-game mini packs, visit the Titans’ official website at www.ottawatitans.com.