Lake Monsters extend winning streak

The Vermont Lake Monsters completed a three game road sweep of the Tri-City Valley Cats (Tampa Bay Rays) June 30 and July 1 in Troy. The sweep increased Vermonts current winning streak to six straight games. After a 3-6 start the Lake Monsters were 9-6, and stood alone atop the New York-Penn Leagues Stedler Division. Derek Norris broke a 1-1 tie with an RBI single in the top of the ninth as the Vermont Lake Monsters scored three times in the inning for a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City ValleyCats in New York-Penn League action Monday night at Bruno Stadium. With the game tied 1-1, Chris Solis was hit by a pitch to start the ninth inning. Newcomer Dani Arias, who joined the Lake Monsters earlier in the day after Jose Lozada was promoted to Hagerstown, was able to advance Solis to second with a sacrifice bunt on a 1-2 pitch. After Solis moved to third on a Nick Arata groundout, Norris lined an 0-1 pitch into leftfield for an RBI single to give Vermont a 2-1 lead. The Lake Monsters added a couple of insurance runs on a Jesus Valdez RBI single and an unearned run scoring on a fielding error. The game had been scoreless until the sixth inning when Steve Souza reached second on a throwing error and scored an unearned run on a Michael Guerrero RBI single for a 1-0 lead. Vermont held the lead until the eighth inning when the ValleyCats scored an unearned run following a two-base throwing error by Arias and a pair of RBI groundouts. But that would be the only run allowed by four Vermont pitchers on the night as Lake Monster hurlers held their opponent to one run in four of the five games during the winning streak. The Vermont pitching staff has a 1.20 ERA during the winning streak, while the Lake Monsters offense has hit .292 and are averaging 5.6 runs per game. Lake Monsters starter Will Atwood tossed three scoreless innings, while relievers Julio Figueroa and Casey Whitmer both threw two scoreless frames of their own. David Slovack (1-0) gave up the unearned run in the eighth, but then struckout the side in the ninth inning to pick up the win. Tyler Moore, who hit a home run in each of Vermonts previous two games, went 3-for-4 with a double, while Valdez two of the Lake Monsters eight hits. ValleyCat starter Jarred Holloway tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts, while Kyle Godfrey (0-1) allowed the three runs in the ninth to take the loss. They completed the sweep with a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night. The game was scoreless until the sixth inning when the Lake Monsters scored three unearned runs. Dani Arias led off the inning with a walk and reached second on an error by shortstop Jeff Hulett on a stolen base attempt. After a groundout moved Arias to third base, Derek Norris lined a single past a drawn-in Hulett for an RBI single and 1-0 Vermont lead. One out later after a walk to Jesus Valdez, Michael Guerrero smashed a two-run double to rightcenter field to give the Lake Monsters a 3-0 lead. Vermont starter Pat McCoy allowed just one hit over the first five innings, but ran into a bit of trouble in the sixth when he allowed three straight one-out singles to give the ValleyCats their first run of the night. Reliever Carlos Peralta took over for McCoy with the tying runs on base, but got a flyout and strikeout to end the Tri-City threat. The Lake Monsters were able to add an insurance run in the ninth as Stephen Englund doubled with one out, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch as Arias reached first base after striking out for a 4-1 Vermont lead. That run would prove very important as Tri-City was able to score a pair of runs off reliver Steven Stewart in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Stewart was able to get Phil Disher to groundout to end the game with the tying run on first base to pick up his first save of the season and give McCoy (1-2) his first victory. The six-game winning streak is the longest for the Lake Monsters since winning their final seven games of the 2005 season. Their 9-6 start ties the best record that Vermont has had after 15 games. While the 1996, 1998 and 2000 Vermont teams all began their seasons 9-6, no Vermont team has ever started a season with 10 wins in its first 16 games. Pelland starts to click Bristol Native, 24-year-old lefthander Tyler Pelland has struggled this year, his first full year at the AAA level. But the Vermonter, who is pitching for the Louisville Bats in the Cincinnati Reds organization, hasnt given up, and has started to turn things around. Over his last three outings Pelland has given up just two hits, with eight strikeouts and three walks, in three and a third innings of scoreless relief. Overall this season Pelland is 0-2 with a 5.12 earned run average. In thirty-one and two thirds innings of work so far Pelland has surrendered thirty-hits, including four homeruns, while recording forty strikeouts and twenty-one walks. Batters are hitting .252 against him.

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