Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
ABERDEEN, MD — Noah Vaughan went 2-for-3 with a walk, run and a pair of RBI doubles to lead the Vermont Lake Monsters to a 5-4 New York-Penn League victory over the Aberdeen Ironbirds Wednesday night at Ripken Stadium.
Vermont took an early 3-0 lead with a run in the top of the first on an Alfonso Rivas RBI single, then added two more runs in the second including Vaughan’s first RBI double of the night to leftcenter. Vaughan scored the second run of the inning from third base on a passed ball.
The teams exchanged single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Rivas singled with one out in the fifth, then stole second and third base before scoring on another passed ball. Vaughan made it 5-1 in the sixth with a one-out RBI double to rightfield to score Max Schuemann (2-for-3 and scored on both Vaughan doubles).
Reliever Reid Birlingmair tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth in his first outing for Vermont, but the 28th-round pick out of Illinois-Chicago gave up a leadoff double in the fifth to Alexis Torres, who scored on a pair of groundouts. Birlingmair also gave up doubles to Robert Neustrom and Willy Yahn (2-for-4) for another Aberdeen run in sixth to cut the deficit to 5-2.
The Ironbirds then cut the Vermont lead to 5-4 with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Brandon Withers came on in relief with two runners on and allowed both inherited runners to score on a Adam Hall (2-for-3) chopper in front of the plate that Withers threw wild to first base for a single/error. But Withers got a strikeout and groundout with the tying run at second to end the inning.
Withers then tossed a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts to nail down the victory and earn his fifth save. Lake Monsters starter Abdiel Mendoza tossed three scoreless innings on two hits, one walk and two strikeouts, while Birlingmair (1-0) two runs on three hits over three innings for his first win in first Vermont appearance.
Starter Jimmy Murphy (2-4) allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits with three walk and four strikeouts over six innings to take the loss for Aberdeen (21-29). After Vaughan’s second RBI double in the sixth, Murphy and reliever Kevin Magee (four strikeouts) combined to retire the final 11 Vermont hitters in order.
Vermont (26-25) has now won five of its last six and nine of its last 12 to move back over the .500 mark, while the Lake Monsters are now 10-10 in one-run games this season.
The Lake Monsters and Ironbirds will play the second of the three-game series at Aberdeen 7:05 pm Thursday and the series finale 7:05 pm on Friday before Vermont returns home to historic Centennial Field for a two-games series against Tri-City this weekend.