Scott Masik's two-out, two-run walkoff double in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Vermont Lake Monsters a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Lowell Spinners in New York-Penn League action Tuesday afternoon at historic Centennial Field.
The Lake Monsters trailed 4-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth when Ben McQuown led off the inning with a single to center and moved to second on a Brett Vertigan sacrifice bunt. After a Joe Bennie walk, Yairo Munoz lined out to center for the second out. Lowell manger Joe Oliver then brought in Emfember Martinez to face Masik, who had entered the game in the previous inning as a pinch runner.
Masik drilled the second pitch he saw from Martinez off the leftcenter field fence to score McQuown with the tying run and Bennie with the game-ending run. The Lake Monsters had lost 66 straight games when trailing after eight innings since a 6-4 win at Tri-City with four runs in top of the ninth on July 22, 2012 and had not won a home game after trailing after eight innings since June 25, 2012.
It was also just the second time in Vermont's 21-year history that the Lake Monsters had gone from trailing to winning the game on a walkoff hit. The only other time it occured was June 24, 2001 when Nick Dempsey erased a 1-0 deficit with a two-run walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-1 win in second game of a doubleheader vs. Brooklyn (all other walkoff hits had come in tied games).
Lowell had jumped out to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the first and third innings, but Vermont tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the third on a Vertigan RBI groundout and a Joe Bennie RBI triple. Bennie was 3-for-4 with a walk in the game, collecting a single, triple and double in his first three at bats. Needing a home run for the first-ever Vermont cycle, Bennie struckout to end the seventh and walked in the ninth before scoring the winning run.
After Vermont tied the game 2-2, Jordan Betts gave Lowell the lead right back on the first pitch in the fourth inning with his fifth home run of the season.The Spinners added another run in the inning on a Diener Lopez sacrifice fly off Vermont starter Jose Torres, who allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Lake Monsters got a run back in the sixth on a Jose Brizuela sacrifice fly.
Ryan Huck was 3-for-4 and Dayton Alexander 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Lake Monsters, while Fernand Cruzado (2-0) tossed a scoreless top of the ninth for his second win of the season. Betts was 2-for-4 with the homer and two RBI for Lowell (12-13), while Raymel Flores was 3-for-4. Rob Smorol (0-3) was charged with the two runs in the ninth to take his third loss.
Vermont (10-15) head out on a six-game roadtrip to Williamsport and Jamestown, then return home to Centennial Field for a six-game homestand July 16-21 against State College and Hudson Valley.
Vermont Lake Monsters outfielder Justin Higley was promoted to the Beloit Snappers on the Midwest League on Tuesday, while 2008 Vermont infielder Jake Smolinski made his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers on Monday.
Higley was hitting .281 (25-for-89) with 16 runs, six doubles, two triples, five home runs, 25 RBI and a New York-Penn League leading 10 stolen bases in 24 games for the Lake Monsters when promoted to Beloit. His 25 RBI were second in the league and accounted for 28.7% of Vermont's 87 RBI as a team through Monday night's game, while his five home runs accounted for 41.7% of the Lake Monsters 12 home runs (seven Vermont players have one home run).
A 13th round pick for Oakland in the 2013 draft out of Sacramento State, Higley had two grand slam home runs this season including an inside-the-park grand slam that snapped a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 10-7 victory over the Connecticut Tigers on June 22nd.
Courtesy: Vermont Lake Monsters?
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