MacLane Pilots Cyclones to Game One Victory

BROOKLYN- If history proves anything, Game 1 of the 2004 Semi-Final Playoff Series between the Brooklyn Cyclones and Tri-City Valley Cats was to be the most important game of the series. Dating back to 2000 the team that had won the first game of the three game series would go on to win the series 11 of 12 times.

Before the game, manager Tony Tijerina acknowledged it was an important game to win, and have the bus ride to Troy, New York be a pleasant one filled with positive thoughts. After his opening game masterpiece, Cyclones starter Evan MacLane recognized the importance of this game as well.

"I felt that it was a very important game to set the tone, and I tried to step up and do my job" said MacLane.

MacLane allowed just four hits in seven innings of scoreless work, and most impressive threw just 77 pitches, while Tri-City starter Ronnie Martinez needed 93 pitches just to get threw five innings.

"It was just a tremendous performance by Evan and he was even low on his pitch count" said Tijerina following the game. "I didn't want to overextend him, just in case we would need to throw him on three days rest."

MacLane got himself in a jam in the fourth inning after allowing a one out walk to Ben Zobrist which was followed by a single just out of the reach of the diving Tyler Davidson, which allowed Zobrist to advance to third and have runners at the corners with just one out. Looking for the groundball, MacLane threw a first pitch fastball which was lined right back to him, starting the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

"A lot of times you will see a pitcher forget the situation, panic and look the guy back to third and you don't get that double play ball" said Tijerina. "Evan knew what he wanted to do, and our defense finished the play with their solid work."

"That was just me staying calm and not over-hyping myself" the right hander said. "It is about knowing the situation and trying to get a ground ball."

MacLane got out of another first and third jam in the sixth inning, getting Mario Garza to strikeout and Hunter Pence to fly out.

"They got themselves in two first and third situations and getting out of those situations kind of uplifts the team" said Tijerina. "The hitters feel compelled to get a run for him [MacLane] with the type of game he was pitching."

Uplift the team it did as the Cyclones came to bat in their half of the sixth inning. Dante Brinkley led off with a single, and advanced to second on a delayed steal attempt. After Tyler Davidson and Ambiorix Concepcion both struck out, Jim Burt faced a 3-2 count and drove a curveball off the left field wall to score Brinkley, and give the Cyclones the only run they would need in their 2-0 victory.

"I wasn't sitting on a curveball, but in the back of my head I knew he liked his curveball" Burt said referring to Casey Brown who came in relief that inning. "He had thrown it to Davidson and Concepcion earlier in the inning and I was prepared for it."

"That was a big time clutch performance by Burt" Tijerina said. "The kid has made such tremendous improvement and he is such a gamer. This is the type of environment in which you find out the real nature of the player."

The Cyclones had just 5,109 in attendance Monday night, however it certainly felt like a sellout crowd. "Whether it was a "Let's Go Cyclones" chant or a blow horn being used to make noise, the KeySpan Park atmosphere certainly played into the hands of the Cyclones.

"It is huge" Burt said referring to how much the crowd helps in these games. "We love playing in front of our home fans and to win the first game here knowing we are going to Tri-City just gives us a good feeling."

Said MacLane: "It is fun playing in front of this type of crowd, especially with the energy and excitement level they provide."

Eddy Camacho came in the eight inning in relief of Evan MacLane and got himself in a minor jam issuing a one out walk to Jonny Ash, however got Edgar Babilonia to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end any potential threat.

Camacho stayed in to pitch the ninth as well and it proved to be the correct choice by Tijerina, as he retired the side for the save.

"I wanted to keep Zobrist on the right hand side of the plate and with the wind blowing in I didn't think a home run would be a factor, and then he had the lefty Garza up so there was no point in taking him out."

"Eddy did his job tonight" said Tijerina.

Derran Watts led of the 8th inning with a double and scored on a RBI by Tyler Davidson for the second run of the game. Dante Brinkley had two hits and reached base all four times to the plate, and Grant Psomas contributed with a 2-2 performance as well, and reached base all of his three plate appearances.

"I don't see any reason to change it" Tijerina said when asked about the Game 2 lineup. "I like how Watts is playing and Burt deserves every opportunity to stay in and swing the bat."

In the other Semi-Final game, Mahoning Valley defeated the Auburn Doubledays 4-3 on an 8th inning Brett Parker triple scoring the winning run.

Devaney In Game 2

Not only is it a brand new month, but a brand new season as well for Cyclones Game 2 starter Michael Devaney. Going 5-0 in the month of August, Devaney has made one of the most remarkable turnarounds this season going from the league leader in walks threw his first 8 starts to finishing in the top 3 in ERA.

"For him to get all five of his wins in August goes to show how much improvement he has made" said Tijerina. "It just goes to show his tremendous progress and all that is because of all the hard work he puts in the bullpen in between starts."

Devaney, who is the only starting pitcher in Cyclones history not to lose a game in a season, will have the chance to put the Cyclones into the NY-Penn League Championship Series for the third time in their four year history, and has a 1-0 series advantage to work with.

"It takes off a little bit of an elimination game pressure" said Devaney following the Cyclones 2-0 victory. "My plan is still to go into the game with the same mindset as if we lost tonight. Evan's performance definitely takes a little pressure off everyone."

Raymar Diaz (7-5 3.19) will oppose Devaney on the mound Tuesday night. Diaz faced the Cyclones earlier this season and suffered the loss going 5.1 innings allowing 6 hits and 4 runs.

Devaney did not pitch against Tri-City earlier this season, however spent the game in the clubhouse watching Monday's game on the television set, taking careful notes of each Tri-City batter.

"It really helps watching the game on television" say's Devaney. "It helps because you get a better view of the batter, whether he it leaning over the plate, and in terms of how he approaches each pitch."

"For example Zobrist is mostly a contact hitter and does not look to hit the home run, so knowing that helps."

Tijerina feels very comfortable with Devaney on the mound and knows he is up to the task to pitch a solid ball game.

"He is a great competitor, and he certainly has it in him."

Devaney last pitched on Tuesday, a week ago, and therefore will not be on his normal program and as a result changes his in between start program slightly to accommodate that.

"I threw an extra bullpen session this week, but my arm is fresh and I should be as sharp as normal, and I don't think the extra days off will affect me in any way."

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