BURLINGTON, Vt. -
Scott Masik broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to put Vermont ahead for good as the Lake Monsters snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-6 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats in New York-Penn League action Wednesday night at historic Centennial Field.
After John Nogowski led off the sixth with his second hit of the night in his Lake Monsters debut, Masik drilled a 2-2 pitch from Francis Ramirez over the wall in leftcenter to give the Lake Monsters a 6-4 lead with his first home run of the season. The ValleyCats got a run back in the seventh on a Jamie Ritchie RBI single, but Nogowski got that run back for Vermont in the bottom of the inning with a bases loaded sacrifice fly to center.Vermont still led 7-5 with two outs in the ninth when Tri-City cut the deficit to one with a single, walk and another Ritchie RBI single, but Fernand Cruzado got Mott Hyde to groundout with the tying run on third base to end the game.
The victory was the first for the Lake Monsters since last Friday when they won the first game of the six-game homestand on a Ben McQuown walkoff homer vs. Lowell.The Lake Monsters jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a Max Kuhn RBI double and a two-run homer from Justin Higley, his fifth home run of the season while incresing his league-leading RBI total to 23. All five of Higley's homers have come at Centennial, leaving him just one short of the Vermont record for Centennial home runs in a season (six homers by three players).
Tri-City scored four times in the third inning off Vermont starter Cristhian Perez to take a 4-3 lead before the Lake Monsters tied the game in the bottom of the third when Kuhn led off with a walk and later scored on a Nogowski RBI single to center. Kuhn, who led all "BCS schools" in runs scored this past season at the University of Kentucky, finished the night with three runs scored in his Vermont debut. Florida State's Nogowski was 2-for-2 with a walk, run scored and two RBI in his first game with the Lake Monsters.Daniel Gossett (1-0) allowed one run over two innings of work to earn the victory for Vermont, while Cruzado picked up his second save of the season. Ramirez (1-2) allowed three runs on three hits over two innings to take the loss for Tri-City (12-8), while Ritchie was 3-for-5 with the pair of RBI singles.
Vermont (8-12) will have its first off day of the season on Thursday before starting a three-game series at Connecticut on Friday. The Lake Monsters return to Centennial Field for a brief two-game homestand against the Lowell Spinners Monday at 7:05 pm and Tuesday morning at 11:05 am.