Baseball: Monsters Fall in Connecticut 2-1

Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters

NORWICH, CT — The Connecticut Tigers snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-out run-scoring wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 2-1 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters in New York-Penn League action Monday night at Dodd Stadium.

After Vermont reliever Oscar Tovar walked the first two batters he faced on 3-2 pitches in the bottom of the eighth inning, Luke Sherley moved the runners to second and third with a groundout to first. Tovar struckout Dayton Dugas for the second out of the inning, but threw a wild pitch on a 1-0 pitch to Ulrich Bojarski that allowed Yomar Valentin to score the go ahead run.

The Lake Monsters got a Jonah Bride leadoff walk in the top of the ninth, but after a groundout moved pinch runner Max Schuemann into scoring position, Tigers reliever Mitchell Stalsberg struckout Jeremy Eierman and Aaron Arruda to end the game.

Eierman had tied the game 1-1 in the top of the fifth with a one-out solo homer to left, his team-leading third home run of the season, but Vermont had just one other hit (a Jose Rivas single in the third inning) in the game and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

A leadoff double and bunt single put runners on the corners with no outs in the fourth for the Tigers. Vermont starter Jhenderson Hurtado allowed just a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 Connecticut, while striking out the final two batters of the inning with a runner on third base. Hurtado finished with one run allowed on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts in his five innings of work, lowering his ERA to 3.03 overall.

Clark Cota tossed two scoreless innings of relief for Vermont, while Tovar (2-1) the two walks and two strikeouts in the eighth to take the loss for the Lake Monsters. Vermont (15-15) went 3-3 on the road trip, alternating between win and loss in each of the six games (won odd number games, lost even number), with all three losses by one run.

Tigers starter Gio Arriera, who allowed five runs on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings at Vermont on July 9th, gave up just the two Lake Monster hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings on Monday. Stalsberg (1-0) one walk and two strikeouts over 2 1/3 hitless innings of relief to earn his first win for Connecticut (15-15).

Vermont returns to historic Centennial Field for a three-game series against the Staten Island Yankees beginning 7:05 pm on Tuesday with the first 500 fans receiving a free Lake Monsters lunch bag.