Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
BURLINGTON — The Vermont Lake Monsters broke open a one-run game with four runs on five hits, including three straight two-out RBI singles, in the bottom of the seventh inning and went on to beat the Connecticut Tigers 6-2 Thursday night at historic Centennial Field.
The victory kept the Lake Monsters atop the Stedler Division standings as Vermont increased its first-place lead over Connecticut to 1 1/2 games with the victory, which snapped a three-game losing streak for the Lake Monsters.
Leading by a run after Connecticut scored in the top of the seventh, Vermont responded in the bottom half with the four runs for a 6-1 lead. After a one-out infield and bunt singles put runners on first and second, Payton Squier scored from second base when Logan Farrar beat out an infield single and allowed Squier, who was running on the 3-2 two-out pitch, to score from second.
Greg Deichmann followed with an RBI groundball single to center and Anthony Churlin an RBI single to right field before Vermont capped off the four-run inning by converting a first-and-third double steal as Deichmann stole home on the throw down to second as Churlin stole second.
The Lake Monsters had taken a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning as Hunter Hargrove walked, advanced to third on a Jarrett Costa double and scored on a Squier RBI single to right field. Kevin Merrell followed with a sacrifice fly to center to score Costa with the second run.
Connecticut had a runner on third with less than two outs fourth through seventh innings, but were unable to plate a run until the seventh when Joey Morgan led off with a double and later scored on a groundball to cut the Tigers deficit to 2-1. They added another run in the eighth, but also left the bases loaded and finished the night 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position
Vermont starter Jean Ruiz retired the first nine batters that he faced, then worked around a leadoff double in the fourth inning to toss four scoreless innings on one hit with one walk and four strikeouts. Reliever Jeferson Mejia (1-0), making his first appearance in the Oakland organization after being traded to the Athletics from Arizona July 31st, tossed a scoreless fifth inning to earn the win.
Merrell, Farrar, Deichman and Squier all finished with two hits, a run scored and an RBI, while Churlin was 2-for-4 with an RBI for Vermont (23-20). Luke Burch and Colby Bortles both had two hits for Connecticut (20-20), while reliever Carson Lance (0-2) took the loss.
The Lake Monsters and Tigers will wrap up the three-game series on Friday night at Centennial Field. It is Halloween at the Ballpark and Make-A-Wish Night. The first 500 kids will also receive a free Lake Monsters pillow case courtesy of Green Mountain Transit.