Trying to improve on an 8-17 month, and looking to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Aberdeen IroBirds, the Lowell Spinners were searching for any way to get back in the win column. Their offense has been stopped cold by Aberdeen pitching, while the IronBirds bats have done enough against Spinners hurlers to make things even more difficult for the home team. On Tuesday night, manager Luke Montz turned to Ryan Zeferjahn to keep Aberdeen at bay, while tweaking his lineup to try and get some action from it. The job would not be easy as the IronBirds sent Kevin Magee to the hill for his fourteenth start of the season. Magee’s numbers have been really good and what is eye-catching is the strikeout to walk ratio, which heading into this start was 71 to 9.
Early on, pitching was in rare form with Zeferjahn giving up only two hits through his three innings of work. Magee was just as good thru four. However, the Spinners nicked him for the game’s first run in the fifth. With one down, Lowell’s number nine hitter Wil Dalton reached on a throwing error by IronBirds second baseman Clay Fisher. Dalton moved up to second on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI single to left by Spinners catcher Jaxx Groshans. It was part of a three for four night with an RBI for him. Lowell had their first lead in the series 1-0 after five.
With the help of Aberdeen’s defense, Lowell added to their lead in the sixth. Nick Decker hit a booming triple to the gap in left-center field off of Aberdeen relief pitcher Jordan Kipper. Kipper would be unlucky as the next hitter, Antoni Flores would hit a sky-high pop up around home plate that was mishandled by the IronBirds catcher Maverick Handley. He dropped it for an unearned run for Lowell and a 2-0 lead through six innings.
Lowell not only got good starting pitching, but their bullpen was even better. First out of the pen was Kelvin Sanchez. He tossed three innings of one-hit ball. In fact, Aberdeen had only three runners in scoring position thru those six frames. The good bullpen work kept on going as Osvaldo De La Rosa pitched a scoreless eighth. Then, Kris Jackson shut the door in the ninth for his seventh save of the year.
The Spinners got a combined three-hit shutout performance to beat Aberdeen 2-0. With the win and Connecticut’s loss in Hudson Valley, the Spinners will have a chance to play for the division title on Wednesday night vs Tri-City. If Lowell can win, it would be the first time the home folks have seen a division title secured.
Spinners catcher Groshans talked after the game about the outstanding pitching the team got on Tuesday night. He said Zeferjahn “was really good and was throwing fire.” On De La Rosa he said, “he had a great fastball tonight and Jackson “may be the best closer in the league.” On the thought of winning the title on Wednesday night, Jaxx said: “it would be cool”. Montz also praised his hurlers on this night saying “they pounded the strike zone all night.” For a change, his team got a “timely hit to get things going.”
Sanchez gets the win for the Spinners and he is 3-4 on the year. Magee took the tough-luck loos and his record is now 5-6. A big night may be in store on Wednesday night with first pitch set for 7 PM.
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