TROY, N.Y. Luis Encarnacion went 2-for-4 with five RBI as the Tri-City ValleyCats hit three home runs in an 11-1 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters Friday night at Bruno Stadium in the New York-Penn League season opener for both teams.
Vermont scored its first run of the season in the top of the first as Jeramiah McCray reached a strikeout wild pitch to start the game, moved to second on an error and to third on a walk before scoring on a Payton Squier one-out sacrifice fly.
But it was all Tri-City from there as Encarnacion followed a two-out walk with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first and added a two-out, two-run double in the third for a ValleyCats 4-1 lead. Kyle Davis led off the fourth with a solo homer and the ValleyCats added two more runs in th fifth as Jeremy Pena led off with a double before Seth Beer followed with a two-run homer.
The trio of homers and pair of doubles were the only five hits allowed by Vermont starter Rafael Kelly (0-1) in his 4 2/3 innings of work, but he was charged with seven runs (five earned) with three walks and three strikeouts to take the loss.
The Valleycats added four runs in the sixth on an RBI single, pair of bases loaded walks and a run-scoring wild pitch to take an 11-1 lead. It marked the fifth time in its 25-year history that the Lake Monsters have allowed 10 or more runs in a season opener.
Tri-City starter Chad Donato (1-0) allowed just one unearned run on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts over six innings to earn the victory. Beer, the 2018 first-round pick of the Astros out of Clemson, went 2-for-4 with a double, homer and three runs scored in his pro debut.
Javier Godard went 2-for-4 with a double for Vermont (0-1), which is now 8-17 all-time in its 25 season openers including losses in six of the last seven lidlifters.
The Lake Monsters will play the second of their three-game series at Tri-City on Saturday at 7:00 pm before the series concludes Sunday at 5:00 pm. Vermont opens its 2018 home season at historic Centennial Field on Monday againt the Connecticut Tigers at 7:05 pm.
Story Courtesy: Vermont Lake Monsters
Video Courtesy: Spectrum News Capital Region