Cyclones Sweep Muckdogs; Set to Clinch Thursday

BROOKLYN- What the Cyclones could not accomplish in early August, they accomplished this week at KeySpan Park, and that was beat a team they are suppose to beat. After their dramatic 3-2 victory Wednesday night in front of 7,262, the Cyclones swept a three game series from the Batavia Muckdogs, and with help from the Lowell Spinners and Hudson Valley Renegades, the Cyclones appear set to make the playoffs.

The Cyclones lost a three game series to the Jamestown Jammers in early August, and a week later lost a rain shortened two game series to the Staten Island Yankees, when both teams were well below .500.

"You fight all season, and when you are this close you play scenarios about how sick you will feel if you lose this game" said manager Tony Tijerina. "It just makes it so much different winning this game."

"On August 1st, I looked at the remaining schedule and I was ecstatic" said Tijerina. "I thought we had it easy but it didn't unfold the way we wanted it, losing to Jamestown and Staten Island. All the credit to how these guys are finishing the season, and how they are fighting till the very end."

Lowell defeated Hudson Valley 8-7 putting the Cyclones 2 games in front in the McNamara Division with a three game series between Brooklyn and Hudson Valley beginning Thursday to end the season. The Cyclones however have not officially clinched a playoff spot even with Mahoning Valley losing to Williamsport. If Brooklyn losses the next three games, and Mahoning Valley wins those three games, Brooklyn will have a winning percentage of .554, while Mahoning Valley will have a winning percentage of .553. Mahoning Valley could still advance because they would have 42 wins, to the Cyclones 41 wins. The Cyclones will be awaiting official word from the League Office on Thursday on whether or not they have clinched, however don't doubt for one second the Cyclones are not paying close attention to their upcoming series with Hudson Valley.

"Right now we are just trying to win each game" said Derran Watts. "We sat at the top of our division the whole year, and now we are ready to finish there."

Watts and Jim Burt were the offensive hero's combining for eight of the Cyclones eleven hits. Burt began the scoring for the Cyclones with a home run in the second inning, and capped it off with a walk off single in the tenth inning.

"That home run was big and his last at bat is all about putting the ball in play, and the type of things that can happen when you do that" said Tijerina.

"I wasn't feeling too well at the plate tonight" said Burt "but it was nice to get a pitch to hit my first at bat and that last at bat I really didn't hit it well but it just dropped in."

Derran Watts entered the Cyclones record books going 5-5 with a double, triple and three singles. Watts doubled in the first inning, singled in the third and tripled in the fifth. Watts had two chances for the home run and to complete the cycle in the eight and tenth innings, however was not going for the long ball, wanting to just try to get on base.

"I would have liked him to have gotten the cycle earlier with the home run and win it at that point for us" a smiling Tijerina said.

"It wasn't really the situation to go for the home run" said Watts. "You just want to try and get on base to help the team win."

Watts joins Frank Corr and Brett Harper as Cyclones who have gotten five hits in a game. Corr did it on July 28, 2001 and Harper pulled off the feat on August 15, 2002.

"It's pretty cool" said Watts.

Hidden in the excitement was the Cyclones starting pitching which allowed just three hits the whole game. Mike Swindell went 6 2-3 innings allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out nine batters. Blake Eager made an appearance for the second straight night and was fabulous in his 2 1-3 perfect innings, striking out three. Celso Rondon picked up his third win of the season, striking out two batters in the tenth inning.

"Our pitchers really pitched awesome tonight" Watts said.

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