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ValleyCats secure sweep of Slammers; sit 0.5 game out of first

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Tri-City ValleyCats (39-24) collected their third sweep of the season, second at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium after defeating the Joliet Slammers (27-36) 8-3 on Thursday.

Tri-City opened the scoring for the first time in the series against Joliet. Pavin Parks greeted Ricky Castro with a single in the first. Cito Culver then walked. Juan Kelly laced an RBI double, and Culver went to third. Ian Walters followed suit with a two-run single to provide the ValleyCats with a 3-0 advantage.

Joliet responded in the second. Phillip Steering and Lane Baremore had back-to-back singles off Jhon Vargas. Matt McGarry picked up an RBI double. Tyler Depreta-Johnson plated a run with a groundout to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The Slammers tied the game at 3-3 in the third after Matt Warkentin hit a solo homer.

Tri-City retook the lead in the fourth. Lamar Briggs led off with a single, and stole second. Jaxon Hallmark singled, and Connor Bagnieski walked to load the bases. Parks came through with a two-run double. Cale Jones followed suit with a two-run single to put the ValleyCats on top, 7-3.

Tri-City tacked on another run in the fifth. Walters hit a double, and Briggs drove him in with a single to make it an 8-3 game.

Vargas (2-0) earned the win. He tossed five frames, allowing three runs on five hits, walking two, and striking out eight. Greg Veliz and Elliot Carney each tossed two scoreless innings to seal the victory.

The ‘Cats outscored Joliet 31-11 in the series, and have now won eight of their last 10 games, moving them into sole possession of second place in the East Division. They’re 0.5 game back of first-place Quebec.

“We got a good ball club; we got a bunch of guys that come out and play hard everyday, grind and have really good at-bats,” said manager Pete Incaviglia. “We’re just playing good baseball right now. We’re playing good defense; our bullpen’s doin’ a good job; our starting pitchers are doing a good job. And we’re getting a lot of key hits. We’re gettin’ a lot of hits with people on base, and we just keep rolling. No complaints here.”

Tri City travels to Crushers Stadium to take on the Lake Erie Crushers tomorrow, Friday, July 28 for the first game of a three-game set. It is the last series the ValleyCats will play against a team from the Frontier League West Division during the regular season. Tomorrow’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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