Justin Higley snapped a 6-6 tie with a two-out inside-the-park grand slam home run to lead the Vermont Lake Monsters to a 10-7 victory over the Connecticut Tigers in New York-Penn League action Sunday evening at historic Centennial Field.
The Lake Monsters loaded the bases in the eighth on a walk, hit batter and one-out walk before Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez struckout Joe Bennie looking for the second out. Higley then lined a 1-2 pitch from Jimenez over the bag at first base and down into the rightfield corner to score Chris Wolfe, Brett Vertigan and Scott Masik. Higley raced all the way around the bases and was able to score easily, crossing the plate as Tigers catcher Franklin Navarro was attempting to catch the ball a little off of home plate.
It was the second inside-the-park home run ever at Centennial Field in the Lake Monsters 21-year history (Dusty Robinson had Vermont's first back on September 3, 2011 against Tri-City). It was also Higley's second grand slam of the week against Connecticut, having hit a traditional grand slam home run over the Centennial leftcenter field fence on June 17th against the Tigers. In five games this week against Connecticut, Higley was 8-for-19 with seven runs, two doubles,a triple, three home runs and 14 RBI (including a three-run homer on Saturday). He leads the New York-Penn League with 15 RBI in just 10 games.
Vermont had rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game 3-3 in the fourth on an Andy Paz RBI single and then rallied from a 4-3 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, including a two-run Ryan Huck double for a 5-4 lead. Connecticut tied the game 6-6 in the eighth with on a Domingo Leyba RBI double and a Steven Fuentes RBI grounder that scored Leyba.
Fernand Cruzado (1-0), who had retired the final Tiger batter of the eighth with two runners aboard, allowed a run on two hits in the ninth but retired the final three batters to earn the victory. Tigers reliever Tyler Ford (0-1) was charged with the first three runs of the eighth inning to take the loss. Bennie was 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI, while Huck was 2-for-5 with the two-run double for Vermont (6-4).
Ross Kivett was 2-for-5 with one run, two doubles and two RBI for Connecticut (3-7), while Rashad Brown added three hits and Kasey Coffman was 2-for-5 with a run, double and RBI.
The Lake Monsters, who went 4-3 during the seven-game homestand, head out on a four-game roadtrip with a pair of two-game series at Tri-City and Connecticut. Vermont will return home to Centennial Field on Friday to begin a six-game homestand.
Courtesy: Vermont Lake Monsters
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