Strong pitching was once again the key for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Erik Manoah threw seven innings of scoreless baseball and Pete Alonso drove home the game’s only run to give Brooklyn a 1-0 win over the Aberdeen LongBirds Monday night at MCU Park.
The Cyclones, for the second night in a row, found themselves in a pitcher’s duel with Aberdeen. Brooklyn, this time, would be the team to come out on top.
Manoah struggled with his control in the beginning of the game. In the first two innings, Manoah hit two Aberdeen players, Chris Clare and Jerry McClanahan, with pitches. Clare took a pitch, which got away from Manoah, on the helmet and was knocked down in a scary moment which brought a hush over the crowd. The IronBirds shortstop had to leave the game to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff.
Aberdeen failed to take advantage of having runners on base in the second and third inning, Manoah was able to calm down and settle into a rhythm which he’d carry to a career-best seven strong innings of shutout ball.
“Manoah threw a gem,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said afterwards. “It’s the first time in his career, he’s never seen the rubber in the seventh inning. It’s kind of a personal goal I think of his, this year, to make that happen and he certainly deserved it tonight.”
Manoah is a 20-year old right-hander, drafted by the Mets in the thirteenth round of the 2014 draft. He improved to 5-1 on the season and his nine strikeouts against Aberdeen matched a personal best.
“He right to his pitch limit,” said Gamboa. “100 pitches, seven innings, two walks, nine strikeouts. He did terrific, good poise and stayed aggressive.”
The Cyclones scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Outfielder Jacob Zanon, again the table setter for Brooklyn, singled to start the frame and promptly stole second base off Aberdeen’s starting pitcher Alex Wells. Zanon advanced to third on the same pitch which eluded Aberdeen’s catcher. Wells managed to get Brooklyn’s Nick Sergakis and Colby Woodmansee on a strikeout and pop out to shallow right field. But Pete Alonso laced a ball into the left field corner for a double which scored Zanon.
“I just wanted to get a pitch I could drive and handle it,” said Alonso afterwards, who’s now hitting .299 on the season. “He threw me a fastball and i was able to square it up pretty well.”
Brooklyn turned it over to the bullpen in the eighth inning. Taylor Henry surrendered a leadoff single, however was able to work around that to strand the runner. Joe Zanghi pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure his third save of the season.
Jacob Zanon, and his 18 stolen bases, lead the New York Penn League. The Cyclones’ franchise record for stolen bases was set by former New York Met Angel Pagan in 2001 with 30. Zanon is on pace to make history.
Brooklyn, 22-21, will play the rubber match of their three-game series against Aberdeen with an early start. First pitch scheduled for 11:30AM.