Last week the Cyclones made the first leg of a two-week road trip to western Kentucky to play the Bowling Green Hot Rods after a successful Brooklyn home stand. In the fourth game of that series, the Cyclones put “the pedal to the metal” against the Tampa Bay High-A affiliate, scoring 10 runs in the sixth inning for a 20-6 win.
After two losses in three games to open in Bowling Green, the record-breaking win eclipsed the 2011 record of 16 runs over Hudson Valley. Additionally, the game was just one home run shy of tying the Cyclones record of six in one game.
The home runs came early as Joe Suozzi hit one in the first inning, followed by Rowdy Jordan in the second and Jaylen Palmer in the fourth. Matt O’Neill hit his first homer of the season while Brandon McIllwain hit his third round-tripper.
“Our guys were very aggressive and locked in on pitches in the zone, taking advantage with runners in scoring position,” said hitting coach Richie Benes. “They had no idea they set a record until after the game, but when they found out they were fired up and proud.”
After leaving Bowling Green, the Cyclones returned to Lakewood to play the Jersey Blue Claws and had another breakout game. Down 4-2 with two out in the ninth, the hot-hitting Suozzi (3-for-4) hit a bases-clearing triple to lead Brooklyn to a six-run inning for the 8-4 final. In addition to hitting his third home run of the road trip, McIllwain raised his average to a team-leading .291.
Despite two big breakout road games, the Cyclones still finished their road trip with a record of 5-7 as they return home for their own two-week homestand against Aberdeen and the Blue Claws. As of this writing, the 22-26 Cyclones are in fourth place in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League as they face the 33-16 first-place Aberdeen Iron Birds.