Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
BURLINGTON — Grabbing the fourth lead change over first five innings, Tri-City went in front for good with two runs in the fifth and reliever Felipe Tejada retired 15 of the next 16 Lake Monsters batters to lead the ValleyCats to an 8-5 victory over Vermont in New York-Penn League action Saturday night at historic Centennial Field
With Vermont leading 5-4, reliever Jeferson Mejia retired the first two ValleyCats in the top of the fifth before Oscar Campos tied the ballgame with a solo homer to left, his second of the season and 40th as a team for Tri-City. Juan Pineda followed the homer with a single and scored on a Ramiro Rodriguez line drive RBI double to right for the fourth lead change in just five innings as the ValleyCats jumped ahead 6-5.
Tri-City increased the lead to 8-5 when with runners on first and third Alex Holderbach lined a base hit to center past the diving Devin Foyle for a two-run triple. Holderbach tried for an inside-the-park home run but was gunned down at the plate on a relay throw from shallow center by shortstop Jeremy Eierman.
Tejada, who had entered with the game tied 4-4 and the bases loaded with one out in the fourth, gave up a sacrifice fly to Max Schuemann that gave Vermont its 5-4 lead. Tejada then recorded the final out of the fourth before tossing 1-2-3 fifth, sixth innings and eighth innings. The Lake Monsters only baserunner off Tejada was a one-out hit batter in the seventh inning.
Austin Hansen relieved Tejada to start the ninth and allowed just a leadoff walk and two-out hit batter as Vermont went hitless over the final five innings after five runs on nine hits over the first four frames. In Friday’s loss at Aberdeen, the Lake Monsters went hitless over the final four innings after 11 hits in the first five.
After Tri-City had scored two runs on four straight two-out hits in the top of the first inning, the Lake Monsters answered with three unearned runs on three hits in the botttom of the first. Alfonso Rivas knocked home Max Schuemann with an RBI single to center and, after a Jonah Bride single, Nick Osborne delievered a two-run double to right.
The ValleyCats regained the lead with single runs in the second and third, including a Campos RBI single in the third for a 4-3 lead. After an Osborne leadoff double and J.J. Schwarz one-out RBI single in the bottom of fourth tied the game, Lake Monsters took the lead on the bases loaded sacrifice fly from Schuemann.
Osborne went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles for Vermont (27-27), while Joseph Pena was 2-for-5 and Mejia (1-1) took the loss with two runs allowed on four hits and five strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings. Holderbach was 2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI for Tri-City (31-23), while Campos was 2-for-4 with the solo homer and two RBI.
The Lake Monsters and ValleyCats will wrap up the quick two-game series on Sunday starting at 5:05 pm at historic Centennial Field. It will be S.T.E.A.M. night at the ballpark and fans can also play catch on the field following the game.