Jose Torres tossed five solid innings, Chad Pinder hit a solo homer and Vermont scored three runs without benefit of a hit in the third inning to help lead the Lake Monsters to a 5-1 win over the Connecticut Tigers in their 2013 home opener on Thursday evening at historic Centennial Field.
Pinder, a second-round supplemental pick out of Virginia Tech, staked Vermont to a 1-0 lead when he smacked a 1-0 pitch from Tigers starter Joe Mantiply over the left field fence for his first professional home run. Connecticut reliever Hunter Scantling came into the game in the bottom of the third and promptly loaded the bases with three straight walks.
The Lake Monsters then manufactured three runs on sacrifice flies from Michael Soto and Kelvin Rojas sandwiched around a run-scoring wild pitch for a 4-0 lead. Connecticut scored its only run of the game in the fifth on a Austin Schotts RBI double, but Torres struckout Kasey Coffman to end the inning and finish his five innings with one run on five hits and four strikeouts.
Reliever Trevor Bayliss then tossed a scoreless inning, while Tyler Johnson allowed two hits over three scoreless innings for his first save of the year. The Lake Monsters scored the final run of the game in the eighth on a two-out double from Soto and RBI single by Rojas.
Coffman, Duncan McAlpine and Ben Verlander (brother of Justin Verlander) each had two hits for Connecticut, which outhit Vermont 9-7 for the game. The loss dropped the Tigers to 0-3 overall, while Vermont won its home opener for the sixth time in the last seven years and are now 10-10 overall in its 20 home openers all-time.
Vermont and Connecticut will play the second of the three-game series at Centennial Field on Friday beginning at 7:05 pm
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