The first-place Hudson Valley Renegades (39-28) had to claw their way to a 1-0 win over the last-place Brooklyn Cyclones (29-37) in a classic pitchers’ duel to take the first half of the season of the South Atlantic League’s North Division. In six innings, Brooklyn pitcher Joander Suarez gave up just one run and struck out eight but was topped by three Hudson Valley pitchers who combined to one-hit the Cyclones for the first-half title at Maimonides Park.
Despite losing the next game, the Cyclones bounced back in the game after that, beating the Renegades 5-1. Brooklyn’s top pitcher Tyler Stuart threw into the eighth inning, allowing only one run along with 11 strikeouts to lower his ERA to a minor-league best 1.44. Mixing his fastball and slider, Stuart struck out tough leadoff hitter Spencer Jones twice. Jones was the Yankees’ first draft pick of 2022.
Reinvigorated with the win from the night before, Blade Tidwell put on a similar pitching performance, striking out nine Renegades while giving up just one run for another impressive win. The Brooklyn bats came alive as Kevin Parada, William Lugo and Jaylen Palmer homered in the third inning. Just for good measure, Parada hit an inside-the-park home run in the ninth to cap off the 6-1 win.
In the following game, the Cyclones’ pitching dominance continued as reliever Joshua Cornielly made an unscheduled start and struck out five Renegades over three innings while giving up just two hits and no runs for the 2-0 win. As well as pitching, the offense was again on display as Parada used the left centerfield wall for a triple that scored one of the two runs.
The Cyclones appear to be following an unintentional blueprint from last year. After a poor start in the first half of 2022, the club took off to win the second half of the season. With consistent and effective pitching, it’s now up to the offense to step up for a strong second half.