BURLINGTON, VT- ValleyCats first baseman A.J. Reed, the Astros 2nd round draft pick out of the University of Kentucky, and 40th rounder Alex Hernandez from Miami, both hit their first professional home runs, fueling the 'Cats 5-3 victory over Vermont on Monday night.
Second baseman Nick Tanielu went 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI, and Ryan Bottger also added two hits, as the ValleyCats (11-7) won their second consecutive game.
'Cats starting pitcher Luis Ordosgoitti had his best outing of the year, giving up just one earned run across four innings of work, allowing four hits while striking out four Lake Monsters. With the piggy-back rotation format that the Astros organization utilizes, Ordosgoitti left the ballgame after the fourth inning, giving way to Raul Rivera.
Rivera earned the victory, despite throwing just one inning. In that fifth inning, Andy Paz led off with a triple, and came around to score on a RBI ground out by Chris Wolfe.
Trailing 5-2 heading to the bottom of the 9th inning, Vermont wouldn't give up easily. Derick Velazquez began the inning for the 'Cats, giving up a single to Andy Paz, who advanced to third base on a wild pitch and throwing error by catcher Alfredo Gonzalez.
Velazquez then walked Chris Wolf, putting runners on the corners and bringing the tying run to the plate. 'Cats skipper Ed Romero went to the bullpen, bringing in lefty Jordan Mills to face Ben McQuown. Mills was able to induce a pop-out by McQuown, and strike out Dayton Alexander to bring the 'Cats within one out of victory.
The next batter, Joe Bennie hit a high pop up that fell in between 'Cats second baseman Nick Tanielu and right fielder Ariel Ovando, scoring Paz to make it a 5-3 ballgame. Mills then walked Ryan Huck to load the bases, which prompted Ed Romero to bring in reliever Ryan Thompson.
Thompson was able to get Justin Higley to ground out to third base, ending the threat and the ballgame. It was Ryan Thompson's first save of the season
Heading into the middle game of the three game set versus the Lake Monsters, the ValleyCats remain atop the Stedler Division by a game and a half over the Lowell Spinners. The 'Cats have taken 4-of-5 games from Vermont this season.
On Tuesday, RHP Troy Scribner (1-1 0.69 ERA) takes the mound for the 'Cats opposite Vermont righty Lee Sosa (1-0, 2.31 ERA).
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.