Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hilligoss Walks Off Against Cyclones In 10

STATEN ISLAND, NY -Mitch Hilligoss finally made the Cyclones pay. In his first game back after missing the prior two due to a sore lower back from being plunked, the Staten Island third baseman delivered a walkoff hit with the bases loaded in the 10th to lift the first place Baby Bombers (35-22) over Brooklyn (32-25) 2-1 before 4,641 at Richmond County Ball Park Sunday afternoon.

Their fourth consecutive win allowed them to finish perfect on the homestand and pull three games up in the McNamara Division on the suddenly slumping Cyclones, who dropped its fifth in a row.

With the game tied at one, Bomber first baseman Kevin Smith ledoff the 10th with an opposite field single and was sacrificed to second by Chris Kunda. Brooklyn reliever Josh De La Torre (0-1) opted to intentionally walk Wilkins De La Rosa for the second time in three innings. This time, he didn't get a chance to get out of the jam.

Instead, German Marte came in and threw a wild pitch to move both runners into scoring position. They then intentionally walked Seth Fortenberry to load the bases for Hilligoss. In a similar situation, he grounded out to short to end the eighth. Hitless in his first four at bats, he came through with a sharp single past shortstop Luis Rivera to give Staten Island it's latest thrilling walkoff victory.

"That situation with two outs is a little different situation. You intentionally walk, eventually it's going to have to kill you," the latest hero pointed out.

"Unbelievable pitching. Soto, Trubee and Hovis were lights out for us and have been. And these are good games because they're in our division. Now we're three games up on these guys and there's a couple of weeks left."

Hilligoss was referring to the tandem of starter Edgar Soto and relievers Luke Trubee and Jonathan Hovis, who combined to allow just one run on three hits while fanning six in the game.

Soto went the first six giving up only one run in the second on a Jeremy Hambrice RBI ground out which scored Jesus Gamero to put the Cyclones up a run.

After Trubee tossed a scoreless seventh, the Baby Bombers took advantage of left fielder Dustin Martin's two-base error which allowed Hilligoss to reach. After a Kyle Larsen ground out to the right side moved him over, Hilligoss scored the tying run on a Colin Curtis sac fly.

The game stayed that way till the 10th.

Notes: Baby Bombers head to PNC Park against Brooklyn for the second game of a home-and-home later tonight to start a four-day road trip with stops in Aberdeen and Hudson Valley before returning home at St. George to host the Renegades this Friday.

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