By STEVE RUMAN
NILES — On Tuesday, thunderstorms and heavy rain prevented baseball from being played at Eastwood Field.
While clear skies and dry weather was the order of the day Wednesday, the calm conditions didn’t prevent the Cyclones from making their presence felt.
More specifically, it was the pitching of the Brooklyn Cyclones which dominated the night. Six Cyclones pitchers combined to limit the Mahoning Valley Scrappers to six hits in a doubleheader sweep.
The Cyclones won the pair of seven-inning games by identical scores of 2-0.
After winning eight straight, the Scrappers (25-23) have dropped three straight. Brooklyn, meanwhile, lifted its record to a New York-Penn League best 33-15.
“Brooklyn showed why they are the best pitching team in the league,” Scrappers manager Tim Laker said. “Except for a very few instances, our guys on the mound were on the top of their game tonight, but sometimes you can’t afford to make a single mistake. Tonight was one of those nights.”
In the opening game, Scrappers starting pitcher Mike Eisenberg continued to experience the tough luck which has plagued him in each of his last four starts. The righty surrendered just one run and two hits in six innings of work, but it was enough to drop his record to 2-5.
Has been effective
Eisenberg has surrendered just four earned runs over his last 182⁄3 innings, but owns an 0-2 record during the stretch.
Eisenberg’s lone mistake occurred in the top of the fourth inning when Cyclones first baseman Lucas Duda belted a home run over the left-centerfield fence. The blast, Duda’s second of the year, broke a scoreless tie.
The Cyclones collected the only other run of the game in the seventh off Scrappers reliever Garrett Rieck.
After Duda opened the inning by lining a single to center, he advanced to second on a Jake Eigsti sacrifice bunt.
Cyclones left fielder Brandon Kawal followed by lacing a ground-rule double to the gap in left-center field.
The Scrappers offense, meanwhile, never threatened against Brooklyn starter Nick Waechter until the sixth.
Waechter surrendered just two hits — a two-out single by Jansy Infante in the first, and a third-inning leadoff single off the bat of Nick Petrucci.
However, after Waechter recorded two quick outs to start the bottom of the sixth, he issued back-to-back walks to Adam White and Mark Thompson. Waechter was relieved by Grady Hinchman, who promptly loaded the bases with a walk to Infante.
Todd Martin, the New York-Penn League’s leading hitter, then hit a hard liner on one bounce back to the mound which was stabbed by Hinchman. Martin was thrown out at first to end the Scrappers’ threat.
Erased by double play
The Scrappers got a base runner in the ninth when Alex Castillo was hit by a pitch with a man out, however he was erased as part of a game-ending double play.
“Mike [Eisenberg] has been strong all year long. Sometimes pitchers might press a little bit when they know a run or two might make the difference in a game. But none of our guys showed it tonight. They all threw well,” Laker said.
In the nightcap, the Cyclones wasted no time scoring what would turn out to be the only run they would need.
Michael Schilling led off the game by singling to center. Schilling advanced to third on a Jake Eigsti single, then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Will Vogl.
Scrappers starter Kelvin De La Cruz (1-2) settled down to shut out the high-potent Brooklyn offense until the fifth.
After De La Cruz struck out Steve Malvagna to start the inning, Matt Bouchard reached base on a throwing error. Bouchard advanced to second on a walk, then scored on an Eigsti double off Scrappers reliever Kyle Collina.
Collina surrendered just one more hit and struck out four while working the final 22⁄3 innings.
However, three Brooklyn pitchers limited the Scrappers’ offense to just four hits.
Dylan Owen (6-1) surrendered just three hits while working five innings while Dan McDonald and Steven Clyne each worked a scoreless inning.
“It’s a long season. We played extremely well last week, and now we struggled offensively for a few games, but we’ll pick it back up," Laker said. "Tonight we just ran up against a very solid group of pitchers.”
The two teams conclude their three-game series tonight at 7:05.
Schilling 2b2010White cf2000
Reyes cf3000Thompson ss2000
Jacobs dh3000Infante dh2010
Duda 1b3221Martin 1b3000
Eigsti 3b2000Brown rf3000
Kawal lf3011Castillo c 2000
Vogl rf3010Realini 3b3000
Tatford c2000Petrucci lf2010
Bouchard ss 1000Hehr 2b2000
DP—Brooklyn 2, Scrappers 3. LOB—Brooklyn 2, Scrappers 4. 2B—Kawal (3). HR—Duda 3). SB—Schilling (12), White (16).
Waechter W, 3-25.220021
Hinchman H, 40.100010
Kunz S, 1100000
HBP—by Kunz (Castillo). , Umpires—Home, Keith Rogowski; Bases, Harry Oschip. T—1:48.
HOW THEY SCORED
Brooklyn fourth — Jason Jacobs struck out swinging. Lucas Duda homered to right-center. Jake Eigsti grounded out 5-3. Brandon Kawal grounded out 6-3. One run, one hit.
Brooklyn seventh — Duda singled to center. Eigsti grounded out 1-3 on a sacrifice bunt, Duda advanced to second. Kawal hit a ground rule double to left-center, Duda scored. Will Vogl flew out to right field, Kawal was forced out at second 9-6. One run, two hits.
Schilling 2b2110White cf2000
Eigsti 3b4021Thompson ss3000
Vogl 2001Infante dh3000
Duda 1b2000Martin 1b3020
Kawal lf3010Brown rf3000
Reyes cf2000Realini 1b3000
Fournier dh3010Valadez c3000
Malvagna c3100Jenkins lf2010
Bouchard ss 3100Arnal 2b2000
DP—Scrappers 2. LOB—Brooklyn 7, Scrappers 5. 2B—Eigsti (8). SB—Kawal (2).
Owen W, 6-1530013
McDonald H 3110000
Clyne S, 7100000
De La Cruz L,2-54.132144
WP—Owen. IBB—by Collina (Duda). Umpires—Home, Harry Oschip; Bases, Keith Rogowski;. T—2:00. A—2,329.
HOW THEY SCORED
Brooklyn first — Micah Schilling singled up the middle. Jake Eigsti singled to right-center, Schilling advanced to third. Will Vogl lined out to right field, Schilling scored. Lucas Duda popped out to third base. Brandon Kawal grounded to third base, Eigsti was forced out at second 5-4. One run, two hits, one man left on base.
Brooklyn fifth — Steve Malvagna struck out swinging. Matt Bouchard reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. Schilling walked, Bouchard advanced to third. Eigsti doubled to right, Bouchard scored, Schilling advanced to third. Vogl reached on a fielders choice, Schilling was thrown out 3-2-5, Eigsti advaned to third, Vogl to second during the rundown. Duda was intentionallly walked. Kawal struck out swinging. One run, one hit, one error, three men left on base.