Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
NORWICH, CT — After tying the game with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Connecticut’s Isrrael De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 12th inning gave the Tigers a 5-4 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters in New York-Penn League action Saturday night at Dodd Stadium.
The teams exchanged runs in the 10th inning and were held scoreless in the 11th before Vermont left two runners on base in the top of the 12th. The Tigers won the game in the bottom of the 12th after a sacrifice bunt moved the placed runner Darwin Alvardo to third followed by two intentional walks before De La Cruz’s sac fly to center.
Vermont had taken a 3-0 lead early by scoring single runs in each of the first three innings. Aaron Arruda knocked home the first run with an RBI single in the first, Jeremy Eierman had an RBI single in the second and Noah Vaughan added an RBI double in the third.
Lake Monsters starter Brady Feigl tossed three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with one walk and six strikeouts. The 2018 fifth-round pick out of Mississippi had two strikeouts in each of the three innings, throwing 26 of his 37 pitches for strikes.
Abdiel Mendoza came on in relief to start the fourth and cruised through five innings, allowing just one run on one hit with one walk and seven strikeouts. But Mendoza allowed leadoff and one-out walks in the bottom of the ninth before reliever Slater Lee gave up an Alvarado RBI single and Gresuan Silverio sacrifice fly that tied game 3-3.
The Lake Monsters had just two hits after a Squier leadoff single in the fourth, a Eierman leadoff single in seventh (was thrown out trying to strech into a double) and an Eierman single in the 10th that came before Lake Monsters took 4-3 lead on a one-out bases loaded error. Connecticut tied game 4-4 on pair of groundouts in bottom of 10th.
Vermont pitchers, who had tossed two two-hitters in the last three games, allowed just three hits to the Tigers on Saturday. Two of the three hits were RBI singles, the first a De La Cruz RBI single in the fifth and the other Alvardo’s RBI single in ninth. Lake Monster pitchers also combined for seven walks and a season-high 16 strikeouts.
Eierman was 3-for-6 with a run and an RB I, while Squier went 2-for-5 with a run scored for Vermont (14-14). De La Cruz had three RBI for Connecticut (14-14), including an RBI groundout in the 10th inning to tie game 4-4.
The Lake Monsters and Tigers will play the second of the three-game series at Connecticut on Sunday beginning at 4:05 pm. After the series finale Monday night, Vermont returns to Centennial Field for a three-game homestand against Staten Island starting on Tuesday.