Baseball: Six Game Split …. Tri-City Tops Vermont 6-1

Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters

TROY, NY — Gilberto Celestino hit a solo homer for the third straight game and capped off a three-run Tri-City seventh inning with an RBI single to lead the ValleyCats to a 6-1 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters in New York-Penn League action Friday night at Bruno Stadium.

Vermont starter Rafael Kelly retired the first nine ValleyCats over a perfect first three innings, but gave up a leadoff double to Trey Dawson and one-out double to Jeremy Pena in the fourth to give Tri-City a 1-0 lead.

Lake Monsters had a runner on third with one out in both the fifth and sixth, but were unable to score in either inning. Jameson Hannah struckout looking for the second out and Alfonso Rivas popped out to end the fifth, while Lana Akau strikeout swinging and Max Scheumann grounded out in the sixth.

Celestino gave the ValleyCats a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out solo home run, his third in as many days against the Lake Monsters at Tri-City. It was also the 12th home run allowed by Vermont this season, including six off of Kelly.

Vermont was able to plate a run in the top of the seventh as Noah Vaughan led off with his second hit of the night, advanced to second on a Jameson Hannah single and scored on a Rivas RBI single (14th RBI overall, first on the road). Lake Monsters left the tying run at third after a forceout and popout to end the inning, finishing the night 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and leaving 12 runners on base.

Tri-City broke the game open with three runs on two hits in the bottom of the seventh after back-to-back leadoff walks by reliever Bryce Nightengale. Oscar Campos followed the walks with an RBI double, Dawson a sacrifice fly and Celestino an RBI single for a ValleyCats 5-1 lead. ValleyCats added their final run in the eighth.

Hannah was 2-for-4 and has now hit safely in his last 14 games started (went 0-for-1 as pinch hitter on July 1st). Kelly allowed the two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts over a season-high six innings to take the loss. Five ValleyCat pitchers combined on an eight-hitter, including three scoreless innings of relief from Juan Pablo Lopez (1-0) to earn the victory.

The ValleyCats took the final two games in the series at Tri-City as the two teams split the six-game home-and-home series and are tied for first-place in the Stedler Division with identical 11-10 records. Vermont heads back to historic Centennial Field to begin a three-game homestand against the Connecticut Tigers Saturday at 6:05 pm.