Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
BURLINGTON — The Vermont Lake Monsters opened the 2019 season with a record-breaking strikeout performance as four Lake Monster pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout with a team-record 19 strikeouts in a 4-0 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats Friday night at historic Centennial Field.
Vermont would get all the runs it would need in the bottom of the first inning as they scored three runs with the help of three doubles. Back-to-back one-out doubles from Kevin Richards (3-for-4) and Jordan Diaz gave the Lake Monsters a quick 1-0 advantage. Later Jose Rivas smacked a two-run double off the rightfield fence for a 3-0 lead.
Lake Monsters starter Angello Infante struckout the first two ValleyCats in a 1-2-3 first inning and Jhenderson Hurtado followed with seven strikeouts over the next four innings. Tri-City got its first hit of the game with a leadoff single in the fifth, but did not have another baserunner until the ninth on a two-out hit batter and infield single.
Carlos Sanchez came on in the sixth for Vermont and struckout five of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings before Jeferson Mejia closed out the night with five strikeouts in his two scoreless innings. The 19 punchouts broke the Lake Monsters record of 17 that was set August 6, 2010 vs. Auburn (Vermont also had 17 strikeouts two other times in extra-inning games: July 19, 2002 vs. Batavia and August 26, 1996 vs. Oneonta).
Vermont got its final run of the night in the seventh as Nick Ward (2-for-5) led off with a double and later scored on a Diaz sacrifice fly. The Lake Monsters had lost six of their previous seven season openers and are now 9-17 all-time in lidlifters (12-14 in home openers). It was also Vermont’s first-ever shutout in a season opener and second in a home opener.
Angel Macuare (0-1) allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings to take the loss for Tri-City.
The teams willl wrap up the quick two-game series on Saturday beginning at 6:05 pm. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Lake Monsters soccer jersey.