Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
BURLINGTON — Robert Mullen lined a two-out, 3-2 pitch into leftfield for an RBI walkoff single to give the Vermont Lake Monsters a 2-1 New York-Penn League over the Staten Island Yankees Thursday afternoon at historic Centennial Field.
After just one hit over the first eight innings Thursday and just three hits combined over their last 17 innings, the Lake Monsters put together three hits in the ninth for the walkoff win. Alfonso Rivas got the rally started with a line drive single to center and Noah Vaughan followed with a bloop single to left (his first hit in 31 at bats at Centennial).
Lana Akau advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, but the Yankees got the second out of the inning when Mullen was unable to make contact on a suicide squeeze attempt on a 1-1 pitch and Vaughan was tagged out running to third base (Rivas got back into third safely).
After two balls loaded the count, Mullen lined the 3-2 pitch from Brooks Kriske into left to give Vermont the victory. It was the fourth walkoff win of the season for the Lake Monsters and the second for Mullen, who also had a line drive walkoff RBI single to left in Vermont’s 1-0 win over Connecticut June 19th.
Vermont’s only base hit over the first eight innings came on a two-out Jonah Bride solo homer in the first inning. It was the first professional home run for Bride and 11th of the season for the Lake Monsters. Staten Island quickly tied the game in the top of the second on a leadoff homer from Eric Wagaman off Vermont starter Abdiel Mendoza.
That would be Mendoza’s only blemish of the afternoon, allowing just two other hits with one walk and four strikeouts over six innings. Chas Cohen (1-0) came on in relief to start the seventh inning and tossed three scoreless innings to earn his first professional win. Cohen worked around a leadoff single in the seventh and a two-out walk in the ninth.
Yankees starter Matt Sauer gave up just the Bride home run over five innings with three walks and three strikeouts in the no-decision, while reliever Christian Morris two strikeouts in three perfect innings before Kriske (0-2) gave up the run and three hits in the ninth to take the loss for Staten Island (18-15).
Vermont (17-16) won two-of-three in the series with the Yankees despite collecting just nine hits combined in the three game by holding Staten Island to just two runs on nine hits in each of the two wins (Yankees nine hits in 10-0 win on Wednesday).
The Lake Monsters head to Hudson Valley for a three-game series against the Renegades beginning Friday at 7:05 pm. After an off day on Monday, Vermont returns to Centennial on Tuesday to open a six-game homestand against Williamsport and Batavia that runs through July 29th.