Baseball: Mullen’s Bomb Carries Monsters Past Batavia

Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters

BURLINGTON —Robert Mullen hit a three-run homer and Rafael Kelly tossed five scoreless innings to help lead the Vermont Lake Monsters to a 4-1 New York-Penn League victory over the Batavia Muckdogs Sunday evening at historic Centennial Field.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Mullen smacked a two-out, 3-2 pitch over the fence in left for the three-run homer, his first of the season. It was also the 15th home run of the year for Vermont, while Mullen the 10th different Lake Monster to homer in a game.

Kelly (3-3) allowed just five hits with one walk and six strikeouts over five scoreless innings. After striking out the side in the top of the first, Kelly worked around back-back one-out singles in the second. Then in the fifth after Vermont took the 3-0 lead, Kelly got out of a bases loaded, one-out jam with a strikeout and lineout to end the inning.

Lake Monsters added an insurance run in the seventh when Devin Foyle led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a flyball and scored on a Max Schuemann RBI single to centerfield. Foyle was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and Schuemann 2-for-3 with the RBI single. Combined with Mullen, the 7-8-9 hitters for Vermont on Sunday went a combined 5-for-8 with with three runs and four RBI (first six in the order combined 0-for-18).

The Muckdogs got their lone run in the eighth when Albert Guaimaro scored from second base on a wild pitch from Brandon Marsonek, who gave up the one run on two hits, one walk and three strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings in relief of Kelly. Brandon Withers came on with two outs in the eighth and retired the final Muckdogs for his third save of the season.

With the 1 1/3 prefect innings Sunday, Withers lowered his ERA to 0.42 overall and has not allowed an earned run with 13 strikeouts over his last 14 innings pitched. The Lake Monsters also dropped their team ERA to 3.70, the lowest its been since 3.55 on June 23rd (nine games into the season).

J.D. Osborne and Denis Karas both had two of the Muckdogs seven hits, while starter Alberto Guerrero (2-3) allowed three runs on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts over five innings to take the loss for Batavia (17-24).

Vermont (20-22) won two-of-three in series with the Muckdogs and finished 3-3 on the six-game homestand. The Lake Monsters head to Connecticut for a three-game series against the Tigers starting Monday and will return to Centennial Field Thursday for a three-game series against Hudson Valley.