ABERDEEN, MD – Last year’s Hudson Valley Renegades were known for two things: strong starting pitching, and timely hitting. They are two marks of a contender, and as was the case in 2012, a New York-Penn League champion. Left-handed pitcher Jordan Harrison got a small taste of this late last year when he arrived in Hudson Valley for the stretch run. He only made four appearances out of the bullpen, but two of them came in the League Championship Series, including the deciding game three. In four innings during that series, Harrison did not allow a hit while walking just two and striking out four. This time he was the Opening Day starter for first-year manager Michael Johns, and pitched brilliantly with six scoreless innings in which he allowed just two hits against the Aberdeen IronBirds in a 5-0 Renegades victory.
The teams were scoreless through the first two innings, but Renegades leadoff hitter Jonathan Quiñonez altered the tone with a double off IronBirds starter Sebastian Vader to start the third. A deep flyout from designated hitter Omar Narvaez moved him to third before Ariel Soriano broke the scoreless tie with an RBI groundout. It was all the run support Harrison and the Renegades would need in front of a capacity crowd packed inside of Ripken Stadium.
Granden Goetzman got the next Renegades rally started in the top of the fourth with a one out single. Goetzman was limited to just 12 games all of last season because of a small stress fracture in his back. Michael Johns then highlighted one of the staples featured at all of his coaching stops: aggressiveness on the base paths. Goetzman stole second, then moved to third on a Darryl George single. George also swiped second to put two runners in scoring position for James Harris. An RBI groundout to first gave way to another ground ball off the bat of shortstop Julian Morillo that should have ended the inning. But third baseman Hector Veloz’ errant throw allowed George to score to make it 3-0 Renegades.
Michael Joseph replaced Vader (0-1) to begin the sixth, but he encountered immediate problems in the middle of the Renegades order. John Alexander led off with a single before Goetzman immersed himself in the middle of the attack once again with an RBI triple to center that made it 4-0 Hudson Valley. Harris brought in the second run with an RBI groundout back in the fourth. He did it once again in the sixth with a roller to second that scored Goetzman for the game’s final run.
Harrison (1-0) closed out his evening in style with a perfect bottom of the sixth that included a strikeout of IronBirds left fielder Sam Kimmel to give him five for the game. He walked just one batter all night.
The win gives Manager Michael Johns career win number 100. His 99 wins while managing the Princeton Rays (Rookie affiliate) are the second-most in franchise history (Jamie Nelson, 141 career victories)…Quiñonez, Goetzman, and Harris each went 2-for-4 and accounted for six of the Renegades eight hits…RHP Andrew Hanse struck out three and walked one in two hitless innings of relief…Castleton, NY native RHP Jaime Schultz pitched a scoreless ninth.
The second game of this three-game series will begin Tuesday night at 7:05 PM. Hudson Valley will send another lefty to the hill in the form of Chris Kirsch, who counters IronBirds righty David Richardson.
The Renegades home opener is Friday, June 21, at 7:05 PM against the Staten Island Yankees. Great seats are still available for the 7:05 games on June 24th & 25th against the Brooklyn Cyclones. Call 845-838-0094 or visit www.hvrenegades.com for tickets.