TRENTON (MAY 9, 2021) >> Heading into Sunday’s series finale, the Buffalo Bisons and Worcester Red Sox needed arms to cover nine innings after both scheduled starters from Opening Day weren’t available. Nate Pearson was miles away starting for the Blue Jays in Houston, while Tanner Houck was a late scratch early on Sunday for the Sox. The Herd got four shutout innings from Connor Overton in just his third career start, and Breyvic Valera’s hot start continued with three RBIs as they took care of the WooSox 4-1 to win the series before their first scheduled off day of the season.
Overton struck out Yairo Munoz to end the first inning with a runner stranded on third, and got immediate run support just two batters in when the Bisons came up against Ryan Weber. On an 0-2 pitch, Josh Palacios doubled into left field and advanced to third when second baseman Connor Wong was called for interference during the sequence. Valera quickly jumped ahead in the count and made it 1-0 on a groundout to second with the infield back.
Weber accumulated five strikeouts through three, but Overton was the star by retiring the last seven batters he faced to finish with six strikeouts over four. He allowed just two baserunners on a Jeter Downs first-inning single and a Cesar Puello hit by pitch in the second, leaving the ballgame with the 1-0 lead.
After failing to capitalize with the bases loaded several times in Friday night’s loss, the Bisons got a double from Tyler White and a Juan Graterol single in the fourth. Palacios was plunked on the hand, and with two outs, Valera singled back up the middle to bring home two more runs for a 4-0 lead after an error scored the first run of the inning.
With Overton’s day finished, relievers Jeremy Beasley and Jackson Rees each faced three batters to pass the baton to newcomer Jackson McClelland. Wearing Pearson’s old #49, McClelland entered the game at 4-1 in the sixth, and kept it there over the course of two scoreless innings. McClelland (1-0) struck out three and allowed just one hit, and eventually Kirby Snead entered to secure the last two outs in the eighth inning.
The Red Sox’ attempts to rally from a three-run deficit were spoiled despite a leadoff single in the ninth from Munoz. Catcher Chris Herrmann then lined a shot into left, but Valera made a mad dash and a sliding catch to take a hit away and keep the tying run from coming to the plate. A few pitches later, Snead induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play to give the Bisons the series and their first save of the season.
The homestand continues on Tuesday, May 11 when the Bisons welcome the Rochester Red Wings to Trenton Thunder Ballpark for a six-game series starting at 7:00 PM. Pregame radio coverage with Gregg Caserta and Dave Schofield begins at 6:30 PM on 920 ESPN New Jersey.