Mancini's Clutch Knock Lifts IronBirds to Victory
Aberdeen, MD- Trey Mancini's tie-breaking, bases-clearing triple in the seventh inning gave the IronBirds a lead they would not relinquish, as they took the first of a three-game set against the Tri-City Valley Cats by a score of 8-4.
Janser Severino got the start for the IronBirds, his second career start against the ValleyCats. Severino pitched a scoreless first, aided by a remarkable sliding catch from left fielder Sam Kimmel. But in the second, Severino surrendered a leadoff double to designated hitter Michael Martinez, who had homered against Severino the previous time the two had faced. Martinez came around to score on a fielder's choice, and the ValleyCats had scored the game's first run.
They would tack on another in the third, but the IronBirds would answer with a run of their own. With two outs and Austin Wynns on second, Steve Clevenger hit a sharp ground ball to second baseman Anthony Kemp. Kemp knocked it down, but threw it away, and the single-E4 allowed Wynns to score.
The ValleyCats got another in the fifth inning, though the IronBirds cut down runners at the plate in both the fourth and fifth to keep the game within reach.
In the sixth, the IronBirds put two on with one out, and Conor Bierfeldt gave the IronBirds their first lead with one swing. His three-run home run, a no-doubter to left field off Astros' second- round pick Andrew Thurman, put the IronBirds up 4-3.
The ValleyCats would momentarily draw even in the top of the seventh, plating the tying run on an RBI groundout from center fielder James Ramsay.
But the IronBirds would respond in huge way in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Kimmel dragged a bunt single down the first base line. Mike Yastrzemski followed with a single to right, and Clevenger walked, loading the bases. Mancini came to the plate, and launched a Thurman fastball into the left-center gap. Kimmel, Yastrzemski, and Clevenger all came around to score, and Mancini wound up at third, his second career triple. Bierfeldt would add an RBI double, and the IronBirds roared in front, 8-4.
Jimmy Yacabonis earned his second win of the season, while Andrew Thurman took the loss, falling to 1-2.
The two teams will meet in the second game of their three game series tomorrow night, beginning at 7:05 p.m. LHP Mitch Horacek will get the start for the IronBirds, while Chris Cotton will go for the ValleyCats. For ticket information, contact our box office at (410) 297-9292 or visit us online at www.IronBirdsbaseball.com.
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