BURLINGTON, VT - The Tri-City ValleyCats (35-35) managed just two hits off of the Vermont Lake Monsters (25-45) in a 7-1 loss Tuesday night at Centennial Field. With the loss, the 'Cats are pushed to the brink of elimination, one loss or a Staten Island victory away from missing the playoffs.
Austin Nicely (5-4) lost his third game in his last five appearances, surrendering five runs on five walks in two and a third innings. Howie Brey tossed an inning and a third in relief, and Ryan Hartman pitched the last four frames, allowing two runs and striking out four.
Vermont's pitchers gave up just two hits in the ball game, and Tri-City's only run came in the second, when Miguelangel Sierra scored on a fielding error. The ValleyCats offense is seven for their last 35 (.200) with runners in scoring position.
Logan Shore struck out seven ValleyCats in his four innings of work, and Brandon Bailey (2-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing only two baserunners in the final five innings.
Third baseman Eric Marinez led the way for the Lake Monsters, finishing 3-for-4 with a double and a triple, two runs scored and two RBI. Miguel Mercedes continued to tear up 'Cats pitching , launching a solo home run off of Nicely in the third, his fifth long ball against the ValleyCats this season.
The Lake Monsters host the 'Cats in the rubber match tomorrow night, with Vermont's Heath Bowers squaring off against Jorge Alcala, who makes his second start for Tri-City this season.