Lake Monsters Walk Off CT Tigers Twice In One Night

Jack O'Loughlin dazzles in U.S. debut for Tigers with 4 hitless innings

Cesar Gonzalez led Connecticut in the doubleheader with a 2-for-5 showing at the plate, two runs scored, and a walk. ((C) Kevin Pataky Photography )

By Kevin Gehl / Connecticut Tigers | June 20, 2018 9:42 AM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - After six hours and one minute of baseball late on Tuesday night, the Connecticut Tigers (2-3) watched the Vermont Lake Monsters (4-1) celebrate their second walk-off win in a row on an RBI single to break up a no-hitter and sweep the doubleheader between Stedler Division rivals at Centennial Field.

18-year-old Australian Jack O'Loughlin made his professional debut on U.S. soil as the Connecticut starter in Game 2. He faced the minimum through the first three innings while working around a hit-by-pitch to strike out five Lake Monsters and left the game after four complete hitless, scoreless innings. 

Billy Lescher continued the no-hitter with three scoreless innings of relief and wiggled out of a jam in the seventh, forcing the game into extra innings. With a runner placed at second base as a tiebreaker to start the eighth, Aaron Fernandez (Loss, 0-1) allowed a groundout to advance Javier Godard to third and Robert Mullen spoiled the no-hit bid with a walk-off, line drive single to left in a 1-0 decision.

The Tigers reached base six times in Game 2 on three hits, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch. Chris Kohler (Win, 1-0) won the pitcher's duel with 3 1/3 scoreless innings out of the pen on one hit and seven strikeouts. The game concluded at 12:37 a.m.

Game 1 of the doubleheader ended in a bases-loaded situation. Tigers reliever Jhonny Mateo (Loss, 0-1) struck out two batters to begin the ninth before Payton Squire ignited the Lake Monsters with a two-out triple to the gap in right-center field. The next two batters drew walks to load the bases before Jesus Lage, batting ninth in the order, worked the count full and picked up the game-winning RBI on a walk issued by Mateo.

Squire scored the game-winning run for Vermont 26 hours and 17 minutes after the game began. The contest was suspended on Monday night in the top of the first inning after seven pitches. Squire, picked by the Oakland Athletics in the 16th round of last year's draft, finished Game 1 with a home run and three runs scored after going 4-for-5 at the plate.

20-year-old Tigers righty Carlos Guzman made his first American start. The Venezuelan worked exclusively as a reliever in the Gulf Coast League last season and left his Tuesday start in the third inning with two runs, two hits, and three walks allowed. 

The Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Isrrael De La Cruz scored on a throwing error by Vermont catcher Lana Akau. Connecticut seized the lead again, 2-1 in the fourth, on back-to-back doubles with Jose King driving in a pair of runs. 

Cesar Gonzalez led Connecticut in the doubleheader with a 2-for-5 showing at the plate, two runs scored, and a walk. The Tigers lost their third straight game and dating back to Sunday's homestand finale against Lowell, Connecticut has mustered only seven hits in the last 22 1/3 innings.  

On Wednesday, the Tigers try to avoid a sweep in Vermont. 23-year-old righty and Opening Night starter Carson Lance (1-0, 1.80) goes back to the mound against Vermont lefty Rafael Kelly at 7:05 p.m. Tune in to the Norwich Courtyard by Marriott Connecticut Tigers Radio Network with Kevin Gehl beginning at 6:50 p.m. with CT Tigers Pregame on 1310 AM WICH and CTTigers.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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