Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
TROY, NY — The Vermont Lake Monsters scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning, capped by a Jose Rivas two-out, two-run double, for a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats in New York-Penn League action Sunday evening at Bruno Stadium.
Trailing 3-1 with one out in the top of the ninth, Vermont loaded the bases on a Lana Akau single, Payton Squier walk and Marcos Brito single to left. Javier Godard followed with a sacrifice fly to center scoring Akau and advancing pinch runner Jesus Lage to third. Rivas then lined an 0-1 pitch to right field to score Lage with the tying run and Brito from first base with the go ahead run.
Brandon Withers (1-0), who had allowed just a two-out walk over his first two innings of work in the seventh and eighth innings, retired the first two ValleyCats he faced in the ninth. But a walk and single put the tying run on second (and winning run on first) before Withers struckout Alex Holderbach on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Holderbach had given Tri-City a 3-1 lead back in the fifth inning on a two-run single off Vermont starter Abdiel Mendoza, who finished the night with three runs allowed on four hits (including three straight singles in the fifth) over his six innings. Enmanuel Valdez had hit a two-out solo home run off Mendoza in the bottom of the first.
Vermont tied the game 1-1 in the fourth as Anthony Churlin drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a Robert Mullen double and scored on a wild pitch. Churlin finished 3-for-3 with a double and is now 6-for-10 (.600) at the plate in his three games to start the season.
Tri-City starter Hansel Paulino allowed one hit over three scoreless innings, while reliever Carlos Hiraldo one run on four hits over five innings before Luis De Paula (0-1) came on in the ninth to allow the three runs and take the loss.
After taking two-of-three games at Tri-City and start the season 2-1 for the first time since 2014, the Lake Monsters return to historic Centennial Field to open their 2018 home season on Monday against the Connecticut Tigers beginning at 7:05 pm.