LOWELL, MA ---
Dani Arias went 4-for-4 at the plate and four Vermont pitchers combined to limit the Spinners to just three hits as the Lake Monsters picked up their first New York-Penn League win of the season with a 5-2 victory over Lowell on Sunday afternoon at LeLecheur Park.
Arias had RBI singles in each of his first two at bats of the game to give Vermont a 2-1 lead. After the Spinners had scored a run in the bottom of the first inning, Arias tied the game in the second with an RBI single to plate J.R. Higley with Vermont's first run.
Then in the third inning, Vermont loaded the bases with a leadoff single, fielding error and another single before Arias grounded a single off the glove of third baseman Tom Di Benedetto to again score Higley giving the Lake Monsters a 2-1 lead. Vermont added another run in the inning on a throwing error by catcher Sean Killeen as he tried to complete a 1-2-3 double play on a grounder by Francisco Soriano.
Vermont starter Shane Erb went the first four innings, allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He gave up a leadoff bunt single in the first inning and a double in the fourth inning that led to a sacrfice fly which cut the Lake Monsters lead to 3-2.
Relievers Mitchell Clegg (UMass) and Pat Lehman (George Washington) both tossed two scoreless innings of relief in their professional debuts after being taken in the Major League Draft last week. Clegg struckout three in his two hitless innings, while the only hit allowed by Lehman was the second bunt single of the game by the Spinners Wilfred Pichardo.
The Lake Monsters clung to a 3-2 lead in the ninth when Arias, who hit 221 (27-for-122) in 40 games for the Lake Monsters last season, led off the inning with his fourth single of the game. After a walk to Soriano and a Brian Pruitt sacrifice bunt, J.P. Ramirez looped a two-run single over the drawn-in infield for his second hit of the game and to give Vermont a 5-2 lead.
Yunior Novoa, who joined the Lake Monsters from Double-A Harrisburg to begin a rehab assigment on Sunday, tossed a perfect ninth inning to pick up the save. The win snapped a six-game losing streak for Vermont against the Spinners, while the Lake Monsters had lost seven straight games at LeLecheur Park dating back to their last win exactly one year ago on June 21, 2008.
Dan Killian and Soriano both went 1-for-3 with a run scored as the bottom three hitters in the Lake Monsters order combined to go 6-for-10 with three runs and two RBI. Lowell starter Cesar Cabral (0-1) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in four innings to take the loss.
The Lake Monsters open their 2009 home schedule on Monday night at 7:05 p.m. as they host the Tri-City ValleyCats in the first game of a six-game homestand through Saturday, June 27th. There are plenty of events scheduled for the home opener, including a 2009 magnetic schedule giveaway courtesy of Pepsi, one lucky fan will win a $500 gas card and longtime UVM baseball coach Bill Currier will throw out one of the ceremonial first pitches before the game.
Tickets for the home opener and for all Lake Monsters home games can be purchased at the Centennial Field ticket office or by phone (802-655-6611) beginning at 10:00 am on Monday and can also be ordered on the team website (www.vermontlakemonsters.com) at anytime.
Paul Stanfield is the Media Relations Director for the Vermont Lake Monsters.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.