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Hudson Valley Renegades: Vidal Brujan Sends Fans Home Happy

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One run was enough for the Hudson Valley Renegades as they beat the Staten Island Yankees in dramatic fashion on Sunday night. After nine and a half scoreless innings on both sides, the Renegades’ Vidal Brujan sent fans at The Dutch home happy with a walk-off single.

There was a little bit of everything in this one, starting with the professional pitching debut of No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, Brendan McKay. McKay has been with the Renegades for a couple weeks now, but the two-way college star hadn’t taken the mound until Sunday night. He did so in impressive fashion, recording two quick outs and walking a batter before striking out the last four batters he faced.

Many believed that McKay was good enough as both a hitter and a pitcher to be selected in the first round as either. The Tampa Bay Rays drafted the Lousiville star as a first baseman but intended to experiment with him as a pitcher as well. He’s on a strict 30 innings limit in 2017 and was given 30 pitches to work with on Sunday. He made great use of all of them, reaching 94.5 mph with his fastball and showing off his hard curveball to Yankees hitters.

McKay was relieved by an equally imposing force in Jhonleider Salinas. Salinas went five scoreless, gave up just one hit, walked a batter, and struck out five. Jose Disla and Eduard Rosillo threw three scoreless combined to keep the Yankees off the board and set the stage for the offense to send the home crowd home happy.

There wasn’t much offense to go around for the Renegades, but they weren’t without their chances. Vidal Brujan drew a walk in the sixth inning, advanced to second on a passed ball and stole third before being stranded to end the inning. Carl Chester, Zac Law and Angel Perez also recorded hits of their own but all failed to amount to anything.

The Renegades bats came alive in the bottom of the tenth, starting with a leadoff double by Isaac Benard. Bill Pujols and Matt Eureste both intended to lay down sac bunts but instead, were both walked to load the bases. After falling to 0-2 in the count, leadoff hitter Brujan worked the count to full and delivered with the big walk-off single.

In baseball, there’s always the chance of seeing something you’ve never seen before. This game was no different. In the top of the seventh, home plate umpire Nolan Earley was hit on the hand by a pitch and was forced to leave the game. Without a backup umpire on hand, base ump Kyle Nichol put on the gear and took over behind the plate, while a junior college umpire who was attending the game as a fan took over in the field. The fill-in umpire, who left with his family, certainly was treated with an experience he won’t forget.

The Renegades improve their record to 18-21 while the Yankees fall to 25-14 on the season. They’re traveling to Staten Island for the middle game of the series before returning to Dutchess Stadium to finish it out on Tuesday.

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