Brooklyn Boro

Cyclones get it ‘Dunn’ behind first-rounder

Former Boston College Phenom Shines in Brooklyn Debut

July 5, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Former Boston College star Justin Dunn shined in his Brooklyn debut Monday night in Batavia, striking out a pair of batters over two innings to close out the Cyclones’ 5-1 victory over the Muckdogs. AP Photo
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As far as professional debuts go, Justin Dunn’s featured a little bit of everything.

The flame-throwing right-hander out of Boston College, whom the Mets selected with their first-round pick in last month’s MLB Draft, spent his July 4 in Batavia, closing out the Brooklyn Cyclones’ 5-1 victory over the Muckdogs in front of 2,176 fans at Dwyer Stadium.

Dunn, who finished off a spectacular junior season at BC by leading the Eagles to a No. 15 finish in the final NCAA rankings, had been around the Brooklyn ball club for over a week trying to get himself ready for Monday’s outing.

He witnessed Jose Reyes’ return to the Mets’ organization, watched his new teammates battle through a few extra-inning games and worked his 20-year-old arm into shape for the grueling 76-game grind of a New York-Penn League schedule.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Freeport Long Island native finally got the call in the eighth inning Monday, and lived up to his billing as a future surefire prospect for the parent-club Mets.

Dunn made sure starter Merandy Gonzalez’s brilliant outing did not go to waste, tossing two scoreless, albeit eventful, frames to give Brooklyn its second straight win.

After Gonzalez (2-0) limited Batavia to an unearned run on only two hits with nine strikeouts over the first seven frames, Dunn received a rude reception from the Muckdogs, surrendering singles to two of the first three batters he faced at the pro level.

However, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s stingiest hurler from this past season shook off the early jitters by getting Corey Bird to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

In the ninth, Dunn seemed to settle in, striking out two of three batters in a perfect inning, and catching J.J. Gould looking at a called third strike to end the contest, which opened the Cyclones’ three-game set in Batavia.

Dunn, who features a fastball that clicks in consistently in the mid-90s, will likely get a few days off before towing the hill again as he tries to help the Cyclones (8-10) catch the red-hot Staten Island Yankees (13-5) for first place in the McNamara Division standings.

Though Dunn’s debut grabbed headlines Monday, it was Gonzalez’s gem that sparked Brooklyn to victory.

The 20-year-old Dominican right-hander has limited the opposition to one earned run or fewer in three of his first four starts for the Baby Bums, including his best effort of the young campaign against the Muckdogs.

Gonzalez did not walk a batter for the first time this year, and held Batavia hitless until Isaiah White singled off him with one out in the fifth. The nine strikeouts were a season-high for Gonzalez, who bounced back nicely after being reached for four earned runs on seven hits over only two innings in his previous outing last week at State College.

The Cyclones gave Gonzalez plenty of support early Monday, running out to a 4-0 lead after three innings on a two-run single by Ali Sanchez in the opening frame, Dale Burdick’s RBI base hit in the second and shortstop prospect Colby Woodmansee’s first professional homer, a solo shot, in the third.

Woodmansee, a fifth-round pick out of Arizona State last month, may not be long for this level as he is off to a scintillating start. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Phoenix native is batting .373 with a homer and eight RBIs in his first 13 games with Brooklyn.

The Cyclones padded their lead and closed out the scoring in the sixth when Jacob Zanon laced a triple and came jogging hom on Gene Cone’s base hit.

Then it was time for the Mets’ first-round pick to get it “Dunn”, which he did in fine fashion, giving Brooklyn fans something to look forward to when the club returns to Coney Island this weekend for a three-game set against Hudson Valley.

“It’s easy to see why he was a number one pick,” Brooklyn manager Tom Gamboa told the New York Post earlier this week. “He’s got a great body for a pitcher. He’s tall, he’s got long arms, he gets great extension out front, he’s very athletic, he’s a very intelligent guy, and he shows good velocity.”

This, That and the Other Thing: The Cyclones were looking to extend their winning streak to a season high-tying three games Tuesday night in Batavia behind starter Nabil Crismatt, who will be making his first start of the year after yielding three runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings over three relief outings. … Brooklyn players will get a much-needed break from their early slew of marathon contests Thursday as the NY-Penn enjoys a league-wide off day. … Sanchez, one of several catchers on the Brooklyn roster, has been doing well at the plate as well as behind it. The 19-year-old Venezuelan is batting .333 with three doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored over seven games while splitting time with fellow backstops Dan Rizzie and Brandon Brosher.


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