The Spikes only scored in the first and last inning.
It was enough.
Right fielder Tyler Gaffney continued to bring numbers to the scoreboard for the Spikes (21-16), going 3-for-3 in Wednesday night’s game against the Connecticut Tigers — an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers — at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, CT, as the Spikes defeated the Tigers, 2-0, in game one of the three game road series.
After Gaffney was walked in the first inning, he reached third base after left fielder Walker Gourley, reached first on a fielding error and put Gaffney at third.
When centerfielder Barrett Barnes grounded out into a double play, Gaffney scored.
The score would remain unanswered by the Tigers, and it would be a pitchers’ duel until the ninth inning.
Gaffney, who used to be the running back for Stanford University football, has brought his football mentality to the baseball parks this summer.
The new recruit currently holds the highest on-base percentage on the Spikes roster.
“It's a competition thing,” Gaffney said. “Football kind of brings that out in me. I’m also trying to learn the game, and there is only way to learn: Try it out. It’s trial and error as much as it is mentality.”
Since the Spikes shutout the Tigers, pitching also played a big role.
Right-handed pitcher Clay Holmes has collected four wins in his seven outings for the Spikes this season.
Tonight, Holmes received his fourth win after he pitched five innings, allowing three hits, zero runs, two walks, and four strikeouts.
The 19-year old pitcher leads all pitchers in the Pittsburgh Pirates system in earned run average, and holds the second best mark in the New York-Penn League at 0.80.
Catcher Jacob Stallings said it was one of the best outings Holmes has had.
“He was outstanding,” Stallings said. “He was really good with his fastball, and change-up. It was outstanding, and one of the best I’ve seen from him.”
Stallings, who manager Dave Turgeon said was “on fire at bat,” had another successful performance, matching Gaffney with three hits in the game.
In the top of the ninth, designated hitter Jodaneli Carvajal came in for the offensive substitution for Samuel Gonzalez after he singled on a line drive. As the pinch-runner, Carvajal stole second.
Due to a wild pitch from the Tigers, with Gaffney at bat, Carvajal made his way to third before Gaffney singled, sending Carvajal home.
The Tigers did not come back in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the Spikes with the win, 2-0.
The Spikes are currently ranked second in the New York-Penn League Pinckney division.
The Spikes will face the Tigers again Thursday night for game two.