BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Talk about a complete 360-degree turnaround.
Just one night after an embarrassing loss, the Brooklyn Cyclones (3-2) excelled in all facets of the game Tuesday night at MCU Park in Coney Island, as they notched a 5-1 victory over the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Single-A short season affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
San Diego native Corey Oswalt made his first start for Brooklyn, and the 6-foot, 4-inch righty looked a whole lot like Roy Oswalt, as he tallied a career-high eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings while walking none and only giving up three hits to pick up the win.
“Oswalt is an all-the-time strike-thrower,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said. “He’s got as good or better command of all of his pitches than anybody here at this point. But stuff-wise, I never saw him pitch like that in Florida. He really pitched well and set a great tone.”
Oswalt missed the majority of last season with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, so he was pleased to turn in a solid effort.
“I felt really good,” said Oswalt, whose ball had plenty of late movement that induced a ton of swings and misses. “I was just really mentally prepared for my start. I just trusted the game plan that I had going into it and trusted what my catcher was putting down.”
The Cyclones struck offensively in the bottom of the first inning on a two-run triple to right center by first baseman and College of William and Mary product Michael Katz. Catcher Tomas Nido drove in Katz on a groundout to give Brooklyn an early 3-0 lead.
From there, Oswalt was cruising, retiring 10 straight batters from the first through fourth innings.
Left fielder Joe Tuschak, who was the only bright spot in Monday’s loss after a 3-for-4 performance, hit the first home run for any Cyclone this season in the bottom of the fourth to add to the lead. He turned on an inside fastball, and it just cleared the wall down the right field line. Hitting a ball out to right field at MCU Park is no easy task, so Tuschak was excited that the ball cleared the fence.
“I honestly didn’t think it was gone,” said Tuschak, who also drove in a run in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly. “I thought it just hit off the wall and took off to the left, so I was trying to a get a triple. Then they said it was out, and I was very surprised and very happy.”
Right-handed reliever Scarlyn Reyes pitched the final three innings to pick up the save. The native of Bayaguana, Dominican Republic, gave up an unearned run and struck out four over the final three frames.
“All in all, there were a lot of good things that happened for us tonight,” Gamboa said. “That’s good because it’s a confidence builder for the kids, especially coming off an ugly game last night.”
The Cyclones start a five-game road trip Wednesday as they head to Hudson Valley for two and then to Aberdeen to play the Ironbirds for three.
Lefty flame-thrower Alberto Baldonado gets the ball for Brooklyn Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. In 29.2 innings for Kingsport last year, he struck out 41 batters, which translates to a 12.4 K/9 ratio.
Click here to view the complete box score from this game.