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What you need to know for 01/17/2017

ValleyCats vs. Lowell: Joyce powers Tri-City

ValleyCats vs. Lowell: Joyce powers Tri-City

On a night when the fans came out to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to see fireworks, Tri-City ValleyCats d

On a night when the fans came out to Joseph L. Bruno Stadium to see fireworks, Tri-City ValleyCats designated hitter Terrell Joyce provided a big blast.

Joyce belted a two-run homer over the center-field fence in the sixth inning to snap a 3-3 tie and send the Stedler Division-leading ’Cats to a 7-4 New York-Penn League victory over the Lowell Spinners before 6,373 fans on Friday.

“That was huge,” Tri-City manager Ed Romero said. “That pretty much opened the gate to get a lead and extend it to put us in a position where we could use our pitching the way we wanted to.”

The Spinners tied the score in their half of the sixth on Nick Longhi’s RBI double. A.J. Reed led off the bottom of the sixth for the ’Cats with a double. He remained there when Nick Tanielu grounded out to third.

That brought up Joyce. The third-year pro entered the game with a .188 batting average. In his first two at-bats, Joyce grounded out to shortstop in the second and took a called strike three in the fourth.

But he got a fastball from Willie Ethington and crushed it to the left of the 400-foot sign in center field for his second homer of the season.

“I was sitting on a fastball, and I had a 2-0 count,” Joyce said. “I was taking a lot of fastballs earlier in the day [during batting practice], and I was praying I got one right in the middle. Luckily, he left one up to me and it left the park.”

Tri-City third baseman J.D. Davis said the team had a premonition that Joyce was going to homer.

“He got all of it,” Davis said. “We called it. [Ethington] was throwing fastballs low. He was locating well, and that’s where Joyce likes it. He got a hold of it.”

Joyce wasn’t thinking about the called third strike against Ethington when he came up in the sixth.

“I was sitting off-speed, and he gave me a fastball inside, and that froze me,” Joyce said. “But I came back next at-bat looking for a fastball, and he gave it to me.”

Davis had a good offensive game. He was 3-for-4 with three RBI. He had an RBI single in the first that gave the ’Cats a 1-0 lead. After Lowell tied it, 1-1, in its half of the third, Davis hit a run-scoring double in a two-run third that made it 3-1. He added an RBI single in Tri-City’s two-run seventh.

“I’m starting to settle down a little bit and not do too much,” Davis said. “I’m just sticking with my plan up at bat. I was relaxed and [try] to get solid contact on it. That was the plan.”

It was the seventh straight year that the ’Cats drew over 6,000 fans for the Fourth of July game. The ’Cats were coming off an eight-game road trip, and were playing just their ninth home game of the season. They are 4-1 in their last five games.

“We’ve been playing pretty good at home,” Romero said. “It was nice to see the ballpark packed with a lot of people. It was pretty nice with the Fourth of July going on, and the team playing well tonight. It was a good combination.”

LOWELL TRI-CITY

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Mars rf 4 1 3 1 Boyd cf 3 0 0 0

Hudson lf 3 1 0 0 Bottger lf 3 3 1 0

Travis 1b 4 1 2 2 Davis 3b 4 1 3 3

Longhi dh 4 0 1 1 Reed 1b 4 1 2 1

Betts 3b 3 0 0 0 Tanielu 2b 4 0 0 1

Sturgeon cf 4 0 0 0 Joyce dh 4 1 1 2

Lopez 2b 4 0 1 0 Ovando rf 4 0 1 0

Flores ss 3 1 0 0 Hernandz ss 3 0 0 0

Sopilka c 4 0 0 0 Gonzalez c 4 1 2 0

Totals 33 4 7 4 Totals 33 7 10 7

Lowell 001 101 010—4

Tri-City 102 002 20x—7

E—Sturgeon (1), Davis (10), Hernandez (1). LOB—Lowell 5, Tri-City 6. 2B—Longhi (6), Davis (4), Reed (5), Bottger (1). HR—Joyce (2). SB—Flores (7), Davis (1). CS—Mars (2), Hudson (3). S—Boyd (2).

IP H R ER BB SO

Lowell

Whitson 2 1 1 1 1 1

Ethingtn L, 2-1 3 1-3 6 4 4 0 2

Shepherd 1 2-3 3 2 1 0 1

Garcia 1 0 0 0 0 1

Tri-City

McNitt 3 2-3 2 2 2 3 3

Ferguson 1-3 0 0 0 0 0

Chrsmn W,2-2 3 2 1 1 1 3

Munnelly 2 3 1 1 0 4

HBP—by Garcia (Hernandez). WP—Whitson, McNitt. Balk—Chrismon, Munnelly,

Umpires—Home, Chris Graham; Bases, Grant Conrad.

T—3:03. A—6,373,

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