Brooklyn Cyclones’ righty reliever Johnny Magliozzi had no thrown more than a single inning at any time this summer.
But with the game on the line in the top of the eighth, Cyclones’ manager Rich Donnelly called on the reliever to get the final six outs.
Magliozzi came through in dominant fashion as Brooklyn held on for a 6-4 win Friday evening at MCU Park over the Vermont Lake Monsters, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Oakland A’s.
“I really like coming in with runners on and no outs; I like jams and situations like that,” Magliozzi said. “It’s really fun and gets the adrenaline going.”
The Cyclones actually got out hit in this game, 8-6, but were able to take advantage of three Lake Monsters’ errors to earn the victory.
“In this league, runs are at a premium,” Donnelly said. “The league batting average is .241, and the pitchers are good, so you can’t give away runs.”
Brooklyn moves back to a game over .500 and remains two games out of first place in the McNamara Division of the New York-Penn League behind the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
The Lake Monsters jumped right out to an early lead in the top of the first, as an L.J. Mazzilli error allowed an unearned run to score off Cyclones’ starter John Gant.
Brooklyn tied it up in the bottom of the second inning, when right fielder James Roche launched a home run to left field. It was his second home run in as many nights and his fourth on the season. Friday was a scheduled Fireworks Night in Coney Island, but Roche provided his own fireworks early on.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good at the plate,” Roche said. “I’ve been working hard with Bobby (Malek) out hitting coach. It just clicked there, and I just have to keep working hard and keep at it.”
In the bottom of the third, the Cyclones tacked on three runs. Mazzilli walked with the bases loaded to plate a run followed by a sacrifice fly by left fielder Jared King, playing in his first game since Aug. 6 after suffering an oblique injury. Roche then drove in his second run of the night with an RBI single to left.
Gant gave up a run in the fifth and two in the sixth, but his team gave him enough support for him to earn his fourth straight win. He lasted six innings, giving up eight hits, four runs, three earned while striking out six to add to his New York-Penn League-leading total of 67.
Cyclones’ righty reliever Christian Chivilli turned in a scoreless seventh inning, but he walked the first two men in the top of the eighth, forcing Donnelly to go Magliozzi.
“Mags” struck out the first two batters and then induced a comebacker to get out of the jam. He tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his fifth save of the season.
“Johnny Mags was phenomenal tonight,” Donnelly said. “Val (pitching coach Marc Valdes) said he has to learn how to go two innings, so that’s why we brought him in. He was real good.”
“Our bullpen has been strong all year,” Magliozzi said. “We just have to keep it going and throw strikes.”
Brooklyn leadoff man Patrick Biondi had a strong overall performance going 1-for-2 with two walks, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly. Shortstop Gavin Cecchini laced a fifth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
“We’re going to try to work off this win and keep it going for this next home stretch,” Roche said.
All-Star Miller Diaz heads to the mound Saturday evening in Game 2 of this three-game set with Vermont. Game time is 6 p.m.
Click here to view the complete box score from this game.