Courtesy Vermont Lake Monsters
TROY, NY — Peyton Battenfield and Blair Henley both struckout five over three innings as four Tri-City pitchers combined on a two-hit, one-walk, 15-strikeout shutout in a 3-0 ValleyCats victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters in New York-Penn League action Sunday evening at Bruno Stadium.
The shutout was a league-high 13th of the season tossed against Vermont, which had not been shutout more than 10 times in any previous season (2001 and 2002). The Lake Monsters have held their opponent to three runs or less in 10 of the 13 shutouts.
After issuing a leadoff walk in bottom of first inning, Vermont starter Jack Cushing retired the next 11 ValleyCats in order (including a 5-4-3 double play to erase the walk) for four hitless innings before Tri-City loaded the bases in the fifth on back-to-back leadoff singles followed by a walk.
Cushing (2-6) got Matthew Barefoot to foul out for the first out of the fifth before reliver Richard Morban got James Nix to hit a chopper for a forceout at second base, but Nix beat out the throw to first allowing Korey Lee to score with the first run of game.
Vermont’s best chance to score came in the sixth when Lake Monsters got runner to third on a leadoff strikeout wild pitch and back-to-back one-out wild pitches, but a Dustin Harris strikeout and Jordon Diaz foul out kept the Lake Monsters scoreless (and hitless) through six innings.
The Lake Monsters got its first hit of the game on a Logan Davidson line drive single to center in the top of the eighth inning, but Marty Bechina grounded out after a wild pitch advanced Davidson to second to end the inning. Jordan Diaz had Vermont’s other hit with one out in ninth, his 73rd base hit of the season (thrd in the NYPL).
Tri-City got a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on a Luis Santana two-out, line drive two-run homer just inside the leftfield foul pole off Morban, who also had two strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings. Morban finishes the season with 69 strikeouts, tied with Brent Powers (2013) for the most by a Lake Monsters pitcher since 2007.
Vermont (33-42) will close out the 2019 season at Tri-City on Monday afternoon starting at 3:00 pm. A win will keep the Lake Monsters from having their fifth 33-win season in last eight years (won 33 games four straight years 2012-15).