The Danbury Westerners pushed two runs across in the top of the ninth inning, breaking a 6-6 tie en route to an 8-6 victory over the Vermont Mountaineers in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action at Montpelier Recreation Field on Saturday night. The loss snapped a two-game win streak for the Mountaineers (3-4) who fell below .500 on the year.
For the seventh straight game the Mountaineers struck first when AJ Robinson reached on an error by Danbury shortstop Matt Boulter and later scored on Rob Kelly's RBI single in the first. Starter Nolan Snell (1-0) struggled with his control, especially in the third inning.
The Westerners (3-4) led off with back-to-back singles in the top of the third before Josh Ake walked to load the bases. After a strikeout to Tom Zengel, Snell walked consecutive batters to bring in two runs before a wild pitch brought in another. Then, Boulter worked a two-out walk to load the bases once again, chasing Snell from the game.
He was replaced by Steve Ostapeck (Sacramento, Calif./Villanova) who gave up a two run single to Kyle Wernicki pushing it to a 5-1 Danbury lead, before getting out of the inning. Snell (Albequerque, N.M./Mesa State) lasted just two and two-thirds innings giving up five runs on three hits while walking six.
Vermont would battle their way back into the game however, scoring two runs in the home half of the frame when Aaron Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern) laced an RBI double to score Robinson (Peoria, Ariz./San Diego) and later scored on Kelly's sacrifice fly to make it a 5-3 deficit.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Mountaineers again broke through against Danbury starter Eric Luksis. Chris Cook (Annapolis, Md./George Mason) led off the inning with a single before stealing second. He would come home on a Robinson double to bring Vermont within one. Barbosa then followed with a base hit before Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anslem) picked up his third run batted in of the game with a single, tying the game at 5-5. He would be the last Mountaineer to reach base.
Kelly would be thrown out at second on the back end of a double steal leaving Barbosa on third with one out. Logan Pierce (Troy Ala./Troy) hit a deep fly ball to left field giving Vermont a 6-5 lead on the sacrifice fly
The Mountaineers used a steady diet of relievers with three different pitchers pitching the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. In the top of the seventh, Zengel laced a one-out double off reliever Kellen Urbon (San Diego, Calif./Cornell) and tied the game at 6-6 on Mike Orefice's RBI single.
Tyler Rogers (Littleton, Colo./Austin Peay) then started the eighth inning and worked around a leadoff walk to get out of the jam. Westerners reliever David Gibson took over in the bottom half and pitched a perfect inning sending the game to the ninth tied at 6-6.
In the top of the inning, Danbury's Daniel Spingola singled off Rogers to begin the frame before Josh Ake was hit by a pitch. A groundout from Zengel left runners on second and third with one out. Zach Shank then fisted a pitch over the shallow infield to right scoring Spingola and breaking the deadlock. Another run would on a wild pitch before Rogers retired the side.
With Vermont trailing 8-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Gibson (1-0) was dominant, striking out the side to earn the win. Luksis pitched seven innings giving up six runs, five earned, on eight hits and striking out five in the no decision.
Rogers (0-1) picks up the loss going two innings in relief giving up two runs on two hits.
--Courtesy Vermont Mountaineers Sports Information
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