Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
BURLINGTON — Robert Neustrom’s two-out solo home run in the top of eighth inning snapped a 5-5 tie as the Aberdeen Ironbirds opened a three-game New York-Penn League series against the Vermont Lake Monster with a 6-5 victory before 3,297 fans Monday night at historic Centennial Field.
After retiring the first two batters in the top of the eighth, Vermont reliever Josh Reagan gave up the 390-foot home run into the Ironbirds bullpen. It was the third home run of the season for Neustrom and the 30th allowed by Lake Monsters pitchers this season.
Vermont outhit Aberdeen 11-5 in the game, but the Lake Monsters did not have a base hit after the sixth inning as Ironbirds relievers Tyler Joyner (1-0) and J.J. Montgomery combined to retire 10 of the final 11 Vermont hitters (only baserunner coming on a two-out throwing error in seventh. Montgomery retired all six batters he faced for his first save for Aberdeen (29-31).
The Ironbirds took a 1-0 lead in third without a base hit as Adam Hall walked, stole second and third, then scored on a balk by Lake Monsters starter Jose Mora. Vermont took the lead in the bottom of the third inning on a Jonah Bride one-out RBI double down the right-field line and a Jeremy Eierman (3-for-4) two-out RBI double down the left-field line.
The Ironbirds responded with three runs in the top of the fourt, including an Adam Hall two-run double to centerfield that gave Aberdeen a 4-2 lead. Mora allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts over five innings in the no-decision for Vermont.
The Lake Monsters were hit or miss against Ironbirds starter Matt Hammonds over the first 5 2/3 innings as they collected 10 hits against the lefty while also striking out nine times. Vermont was able to knock Hammonds out of the game in the sixth on a Joseph Pena bases loaded RBI single that cut the deficit to 4-3.
Alfonso Rivas (3-for-5) greeted reliever Tyler Joyner with a groundball single into leftfield with the runners going on a 3-2 pitch for a two-run single and a 5-4 Lake Monsters lead.
A Marcos Brito throwing error and two wild pitches in the top of the seventh from Vermont reliever Josh Reagan plated an Aberdeen unearned run to tie the game at five, leading to Neustrom’s go ahead homer in the eighth,
Vermont (28-33), which has now lost eight of its last nine games, will host Aberdeen again at 7:05 pm on Tuesday. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free Lake Monsters OYO* Sports Player Figurine.