Baseball: Monsters Pitchers Fan 16, Top Batavia 5-2

Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters

BURLINGTON — Payton Squier went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Marcus Brito smacked a solo homer, while relievers Jefferson Mejia and Charlie Cerny retired 14 of the 15 batters faced to lead the Vermont Lake Monsters to a 5-2 victory over the Batavia Muckdogs in New York-Penn League action Friday night at historic Centennial Field.

Brito opened the scoring for the Lake Monsters in the second with a two-out solo home run to rightfield on a 3-2 pitch for his first homer of the season. Vermont added another run in the inning when Max Schuemann walked, stole second and scored on a Squier RBI single to center.

The Muckdogs tied the game in the fourth on Michael Donadio’s two-out, two-run homer to left off Vermont starter Jhenderson Hurtado, who allowed the two runs on six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. The lefty came out after giving up a one-out single and double in the fifth that put two runners in scoring position , but Mejia came on to hold Batavia scoreless with a pair of groundouts and keep the game tied 2-2.

Vermont retook the lead 3-2 in the fifth when Devin Foyle scored from third on a two-out wild pitch from Batavia reliever Tyler Kolek. The Lake Monsters then added single runs on Max Schuemann RBI single in the sixth and Jose Rivas RBI single in the seventh for a 5-2 advantage.

Mejia (1-0) retired all eight Batavia batters he faced over his 2 2/3 innings, including the last by strikeout (final two outs of sixth and all three in the seventh) to pick up his first win of the season. Charlie Cerny retired six of the seven Muckdogs he faced, allowing just a one-out single in eighth before striking out four of final five to earn his first save.

Hurtado, Mejia and Cerny combine to walk just one batter and strikeout 16 Muckdogs, the fourth time this season that Vermont has struckout 15 or more batters in a game (also struckout 16 in 12-inning contest at Connecticut July 14th). Offensively Vermont finished the night with seven steals as a team, the most in a game for the Lake Monsters since the 2000 season.

Vermont (19-21) collected 10 hits on the night, its first time with double-digit hits over the last 11 games (since July 15th). The Lake Monsters have now won two straight games for the first time since July 3-4.

Demetrius Sims and Jerar Encarnacion each had two hits for Batavia (16-23), while Kolek (0-1) took the loss in relief of starter Humberto Mejia, who allowed two runs on four hits over three innings.

The Lake Monsters and Muckdogs will play the second of the three-game series at Centennial Field 6:05 pm on Saturday. It will be Star Wars Night at the ballpark and will also feature the first of three post-game firework shows.