Albany Times Union

Closer hitting right notes

Yet to pick entrance music, Cochran-gill gets used to new role

- By Mark Singelais Troy

Tri-city Valleycats closer Trey Cochran- Gill hasn’t picked his entrance song yet. Maybe that’s understand­able because he’s not used to being a closer.

The Valleycats have played Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” over the public-address system when Cochran- Gill comes in from the bullpen, a nod to his upbringing in Tallassee, Ala., a suburb of Montgomery.

“It doesn’t matter,” Cochrangil­l said. “I’ll probably pick a walkout song here soon. That (‘Sweet Home Alabama’) was a good one. I’ve got to see what I’m currently listening to. See what gets me going, I guess.”

There were plenty of reasons for Cochran-gill to get his adrenaline pumping the past week. He had a win and three saves in five appearance­s - even if it wasn’t always easy.

“I like to be available as much as I can to get in there and give the team what I got for that day, you know,” he said.

The Valleycats missed CochranGil­l in a 7-4 loss to Washington on Sunday that concluded Tri-city’s nine-game homestand in front of a crowd of 1,460 at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium. Valleycats manager Pete Incaviglia, whose team fell to 9-18, gave Cochran- Gill the day off because of his recent heavy activity.

“I’ve got to keep him healthy because they want to get out of here (back to affiliated ball) and they can’t get out of here if they get hurt,” Incaviglia said.

The Wild Things took advantage by scoring four runs in a sloppy eighth inning against relievers Turner Larkins and Trevor Damron in a spot where Incaviglia would have normally turned to Cochran- Gill.

“He’s been our saving grace down there when we really need him late in the game,” Incaviglia said of Cochran- Gill. “He’s been the guy, without a doubt.”

Cochran- Gill pitched the final inning of the Valleycats’ combined no-hitter against New Jersey on Tuesday. The following night, he gave up a single with a man on second with two out in the ninth, but left fielder Carson Maxwell threw out the runner at the plate to preserve a 3-2 victory.

On Friday, Cochran- Gill picked up the win over the Wild Things after stranding two runners in the ninth and two more in the 10th before Tri-city’s Denis Phipps ended the game with an RBI single. Then Cochran-gill saved the 11-9 win over Washington on Saturday

with a pair of strikeouts in the ninth.

Cochran- Gill, who uses a two-seam fastball, slider and changeup, has five saves and a 1.42 earned-run average in 12 games.

He said he had never been a closer before this year, though he did compile 12 saves in his rookie season in the Seattle

Mariners’ minor league system in 2014. Cochran Gill was a 17th round pick out of Auburn that year.

After that, Cochran- Gill was used mainly in middle and long relief in his six years in the Seattle and Oakland organizati­ons, reaching as high as Triple-a with the Mariners. He became a free agent last year and came to

Tri-city because he liked Incaviglia’s track record of getting players back to the affiliated minors.

He said it hasn’t been difficult to adjust to the new, high-pressure role.

“To be honest with you, I try to treat it just like any other situation whether you’re up a lot, down a lot,” Cochran- Gill said. “I try not to put too much pressure on myself in those close situations. I go out there and compete and try to get outs.”

Incaviglia became dependent upon Cochran- Gill after four of his relievers signed contracts with major-league organizati­ons. Cochran- Gill had a four-inning, 50-pitch appearance at Sussex County on June 12.

“He’s been doing this a long time,” Incaviglia said. “He knows how to pitch. We’re basically using him just like he got used in Double or Triple A.”

Note: Valleycats catcher and outfielder Oscar Campos left Sunday’s game in the fourth inning after getting hurt running the bases. Incaviglia said it could be a hamstring injury, but trainer Johan Mussa said it might not be as bad as it looked … Outfielder and first baseman Chris Kwitzer served the final game of his three-game suspension for his role in the bench-clearing altercatio­n against New Jersey on Thursday. Outfielder Mitch Piatnik will serve his three-game suspension starting Tuesday at New Jersey.

 ?? Paul Buckowski / Times Union ?? Closer Trey Cochran-gill has had a heavy workload recently, compiling a win and three saves over five appearance­s last week. He has a 1.42 ERA.
Paul Buckowski / Times Union Closer Trey Cochran-gill has had a heavy workload recently, compiling a win and three saves over five appearance­s last week. He has a 1.42 ERA.
 ?? Paul Buckowski / Times Union ?? Denis Phipps of the Valleycats hits a double during their game against the Washington Wild Things on Sunday at Bruno Stadium in Troy.
Paul Buckowski / Times Union Denis Phipps of the Valleycats hits a double during their game against the Washington Wild Things on Sunday at Bruno Stadium in Troy.

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