Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
BURLINGTON — Kevin Richards accounted for all three runs with a bases loaded triple in the seventh inning, while Tyler Baum, Richard Morban and Jose Mora combined on a four-hit shutout as the Vermont Lake Monsters opened a three-game New York-Penn League series against the Lowell Spinners with a 3-0 win Thursday night at historic Centennial Field.
Logan Davidson got the seventh-inning rally started with a one-out double off Spinners reliever Kelvin Sanchez before Vermont loaded the bases with a pair of back-to-back two-out walks. Richards then greeted reliever Dylan Spacke with a line drive triple down the right-field line to clear the bases.
The Spinners loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth on three straight walks, the first two from Morban and the third from Mora, but a Mora strikeout of Joe Davis ended the inning. In the ninth after allowing a Nick Decker leadoff double, Mora struckout the side to notch his 11th save (second in NYPL this season and tied for fifth all-time by Vermont pitcher).
Lake Monsters starter Tyler Baum retired first seven batters he faced (three strikeouts) before a one-out walk in the third, but then induced an inning-ending double play to end inning and his start. Morban took over in the fourth and tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings with three hits, three walks and three strikeouts.
It was the third shutout victory of the season for Vermont and its first since a 2-0 win over Batavia on July 13th. The Lake Monsters had entered the night having allowed 29 runs over their last five games and 66 in the last 10.
Game was scoreless over the first 6 1/2 innings with the best scoring opportunity coming in the bottom of the first as the Lake Monsters loaded the bases to open the inning with a walk, infield single and walk, but Lowell starter Ryan Zeferjahn got out the jam with a strikeout, infield-fly rule pop up and strikeout.
Zeferjahn, Boston’s third-round draft pick out of Kansas, allowed three hits with two walks and three strikeouts over the first three innings, while Sanchez (2-4) was charged with three runs on two hits with four walks and five strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings to take the loss for Lowell (35-30).
Vermont (30-35), which trails the Spinners by five games in the Stedler Division with 11 games remaining in the regular-season, will host Lowell in the second of the three-game series 7:05 pm on Friday with a special appearance by the ZOOperstars.