Cyclones suffer first loss to Tourists
Wildness in four-run fourth results in season's initial defeat
Luke Ritter’s solo home run in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the lone highlight for Brooklyn Wednesday night as the Cyclones suffered a 6-1 loss to the host Asheville Tourists in front of 1,200 fans at McCormick Field.
Ritter, who hit .245 with four homers and 36 RBIs in 68 games for the Baby Bums during their 2019 championship campaign in the now-defunct New York-Penn League, blasted his first of the season to help the Cyclones (1-1) avoid a shutout one night after cruising to an 8-2 win over Asheville (1-1).
Cody Bohanek went 3-for-3 with a walk for Brooklyn, which will be in Asheville, N.C. for its first six games before moving on to its next High-A opponent, which will be waiting in Greenville, S.C. next Tuesday.
The Cyclones, who won’t return to open up MCU Park until May 18 vs. Hudson Valley, were in a tight one Wednesday before right-hander Jose Butto (0-1) lost his feel in the fourth inning.
After surrendering an RBI triple to Scott Schreiber in the bottom of the first, Butto, considered one of the team’s top 30 minor league prospects, got through the next two frames unscathed before things began to unravel.
He began the fourth by walking back-to-back batters and issued three free passes in all during the fateful rally, which resulted in four runs for the previously winless Tourists.
Emmanuel Valdez’s two-run single off Brooklyn reliever Josh Hejka capped the big inning as the Cyclones remained scoreless until Ritter’s blast in the seventh.
Brooklyn put a pair of runners on with two out later in the inning, but Scott Ota took a called strike three to end the Cyclones’ best shot to climb back into the game.
Ramiro Rodriguez added an RBI single in the eighth for the Tourists, who lost starter Cole McDonald to injury in the second inning. Fortunately for Asheville, Chandler Casey (1-0) came on and tossed four scoreless innings of three-hit ball to keep Brooklyn at bay.
Brooklyn reliever Bryce Montes de Oca made his professional debut after being sidelined since 2018 due to injury and last year’s season cancellation due to COVID-19.
The 6-foot-7 righty worked around a walk in a scoreless inning before southpaw Andrew Edwards, who closed out Lowell in the deciding game of the NY-Penn Championship Series two summers ago, yielded a run on two hits in the eighth.
Right-hander Oscar Rojas was slated to make his first start for Brooklyn on Thursday vs. Asheville’s Matt Ruppenthal.
The Brooklyn Nets found out Wednesday that both they and superstar Kyrie Irving had been fined $35,000 for violating the NBA’s media access rules.
“The fines result from Irving’s repeated refusal to participate in postgame media availability,” the league said in a statement one day after Irving poured in 38 points during a loss in Milwaukee.
The mercurial point guard didn’t speak to reporters who had requested his time following Brooklyn’s third consecutive defeat, resulting in his second fine of the year.
The Nets and Irving each received $25,000 fines after he failed to talk to reporters during training camp.
“I pray we utilize the ‘fine money’ for the marginalized communities in need, especially seeing where our world is presently,” Irving wrote on Instagram on the even of the Nets’ Thursday night game in Dallas.
“[I am] here for Peace, Love and Greatness. So stop distracting me and my team, and appreciate the Art. We move different over here.”
The Nets entered Thursday’s contest 1 1/2 games behind Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia and 1 1/2 games ahead of third-place Milwaukee in the hunt for playoff seeding.