Baseball: Early Runs Carry Monsters Past Hudson Valley 7-3

Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters

BURLINGTON — Nick Ward and Jordan Diaz both homered as the Vermont Lake Monsters scored six times over the first two innings and went on to defeat the Hudson Valley Renegades 7-3 in New York-Penn League action Tuesday night at historic Centennial Field.

Ward blasted the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning 376-feet over the rightfield fence to give the Lake Monsters a quick 1-0 lead. Vermont added three more runs in the inning on a Nick Osborne two-run double down the left-field line and a Christopher Quintin RBI infield single.

Then in the second after a Danny Bautista 396-foot leadoff triple to center, Jordan Diaz jumped on a 3-0 pitch from Renegades starter Edisson Gonzalez and lined it over the leftfield wall to give Vermont the 6-0 advantage. Hudson Valley cut the deficit in half with three runs in the top of the third, including a Hill Alexander two-run single to right..

Ward’s leadoff home run was the first for the Lake Monstes since August 8, 2017 when Kevin Merrell led off the bottom of the first inning with a homer vs. Batavia. Bautista finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs scored, while Christopher Quintin was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Rafael Kelly, who came down from single-A Beloit to make a start for the Lake Monsters during the Midwest League All-Star break, allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts over his five innings of work. Yorlenis Noa followed with three scoreless innings of relief with one hit, one walk and five strikeouts for the save.

Hudson Valley starter Endisson Gonzalez (0-1) was charged with six runs on seven hits over just two innings of work, while three Renegades relievers combined to allow an unearned run on three hits over final six innings. 2019 first-round pick Greg Jones went 2-for-4 with a run, double and RBI for Hudson Valley (1-4).

Vermont, which is 4-1 to start the season for the second straight year, hosts Hudson Valley in the second of the three-game series Wednesday at Centennial with the first 1,500 fans receiving a free Summer Cup.