Baseball: First Place Lake Monsters Complete Sweep of Connecticut

NORWICH, CT — The Vermont Lake Monsters completed a three-game sweep at Connecticut and moved into sole possession of first-place in the Stedler Division with a 2-0 shutout victory over the Tigers in New York-Penn League action Thursday night at Dodd Stadium.
Vermont has won three straight games for the third different time this season, while finding themselves in sole possession of first-place in the Stedler Divsion for the first time since June 18, 2014 and just the second time since winning the 2011 division title. The Lake Monsters are also four games over .500 (10-6) for the first time since July 16, 2012.
The Lake Monsters scored both their runs in the fourth inning with the help of  pair of Connecticut errors on a Ryan Gridley double. With Payton Squier on first base, Gridley doubled to right field advancing Squier to third. Squier and Gridley then scored on throwing errors by both rightfielder Reynoldo Rivera and third baseman Colby Bortles.
2017 Oakland eighth-round draft pick Brian Howard (out of TCU) retired the first five batters he faced over the first two innings of the game, allowing just a two-out single in the second and striking out one in his professional debut.
Oscar Tovar (1-0) took over in relief of Howard to start the bottom of the third and tossed five scoreless innings to earn the win, allowing just two hits with two walks and six strikeouts. The Tigers best chance to score came in the fourth when a one-out walk and single gave Connecticut runners at first and third, but Tovar got a strikeout and flyout to end the threat.
Wandisson Charles completed the shutout, Vermont’s second of the season, with two scoreless innings for his second save of the year. Gridley was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored for the Lake Monsters, while Squier was 2-for-4. Starter Matt Manning (1-1) allowed two unearned runs on six hits over six innings to take the loss for Connecticut (9-7).
Vermont returns home to historic Centennial Field to host the Hudson Valley Renegades in a three-game series Friday at 7:05 pm, Saturday at 6:05 pm (Vermont Expos replica jersey giveaway) and Sunday at 5:05 pm (CHAMP’s Birthday).