Jacobs and Duda Ground Ironbirds 12-6
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Tuesday, August 7, 2007

BROOKLYN, NY - After an absolutely anemic offensive showing during their last home stand against Vermont, the Brooklyn Cyclones got all the offense they needed tonight, thanks in part to a six-run second inning and seven combined RBI from Jason Jacobs and Lucas Duda, en-route to a 12-6 victory over the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

“We’re playing good ball right now,” said Jacobs. “We put up some offense tonight. We’ve been hitting the ball well and now we’re getting the breaks that we weren’t getting against Vermont last week.”

Giving up five runs in 1.2 innings in his last start at Keyspan Park on July 20, Cyclones rookie starter Eric Niesen was eager to get the first win of his young professional career. After giving up two runs on two hits in the first however, the outlook wasn’t exactly positive.

“The first inning I was a little too intense,” said Niesen. “But with an offense like this, I knew that if I could keep things close that I would have a chance.”

Despite digging themselves in early hole, the Mets Single-A affiliate managed to get a run back in the bottom of the first, courtesy of a solo-bomb off the bat of Jacobs that put them right back in the game at 2-1 after one inning of play.

The Jacobs dinger must have woke the Cyclones offense up, because the team managed to then take the lead in the second after a Matt Bouchard double with the bases loaded that scored both Brandon Kawal and Joaquin Rodriguez. Helping matters for the ‘Clones as well was the sloppy Aberdeen defense that inning, as two runners managed to reach base on what should have been routine ground outs, while another run would cross the plate thanks to a wild pitch.

However, that wouldn’t be all the offense the team would put up in the second, as Jacobs would add a two-run double to his resume and Duda would then drive him in, giving Brooklyn a 7-2 lead and would signal the end for Aberdeen starter Zach Jevne, who came into today’s game with a 3-2 record a 2.27 ERA.

“I’m getting a chance to drive in runs,” said Jacobs of his team-leading 30 RBI. “Thankfully, I’ve been making the most of it.”

While Niesen wasn’t perfect the rest of the way, giving up another run in the fourth that would bring the score to 7-3, he wouldn’t need to be, as Raul Reyes would blast a two-run homer off the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning that would put the game away at 9-3. Regardless of Niesen’s adequate performance today however, the southpaw would leave the game in the top of the fifth in favor of right-handed sinkerballer Greg Mullens.

Just like Niesen, Mullens would run into trouble as well, giving up a run in the sixth that put the score at 9-4. However, the Mets Single-A affiliate would strike back again, as Lucas Duda would smoke a three-run homer over the right field wall and into Steeplechase Park, putting the baby Mets up 12-4.

“He [Duda] hit that ball into the ocean,” said Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo. “He’s been swinging the bat really well lately.”

Continuing to run into problems in the seventh, Mullens, who would end up getting the win, would leave with one out and runners on second and third and Josh Appell, the pitcher who replaced him, would give up a unearned run via a sacrifice fly the would cut the ‘Clones lead to 12-5. After Appell cleaned up Mullens’s mess and finished the seventh, Will Morgan kept Aberdeen in check through the eighth and ninth, giving up only a solo-homer the rest of way, pulling down the final curtain in a 12-6 rout.

Taking the first game of the current two-game series with Aberdeen and going 5-2 in their last seven games, the Cyclones look to be fully recovered from their series loss against Vermont last week and seem focused on stretching their five-game lead in the McNamara Division.

“Tonight we did really well offensively and that continued from the way we played on our last road trip,” Alfonzo said. “The players have responded.”