Scrappers end record long losing streak with 6-2 win
Niles, OH – With an extra 48 minutes to think about their current 12-game losing streak due to a rain delay, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers were able to muster up the motivation to finally find a win, securing a 6-2 victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters and ultimately ending the franchise-record losing streak.
The offense, which had scored just 31 runs over the losing streak, caught fire Monday, pounding out 10 hits and scoring more than five runs for the first time in 10 games.
The offense was led by Nellie Rodriguez, who finished the day 2-5 with an RBI double to go along with two runs scored. Backup catcher Martin Cervenka had two singles and the go-ahead RBI in the bottom of the sixth.
Robel Garcia entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth and later hit a two-run home run to deep right-center field. Juan Herrera pitched-in two hits and a run scored. Mahoning Valley scored five of their six runs with two outs but also left 10 runners stranded.
"It wasn’t just one inning; it was six consistent runs through nine innings," Scrappers starting pitcher Cole Sulser said about the offensive outburst. "That’s just a huge help to the pitching staff, it takes a huge weight off of our shoulders.”
Sulser continued his recent run of success on the mound, lasting four innings while allowing four hits, zero walks and fanning four batters. The right-hander threw 43 of his 66 pitches for strikes. On the year, Sulser now sports a 2.45 ERA.
The bullpen continued to throw well, combining for six innings of two-run ball, only one of which was earned. Matt Whitehouse (1-0. 0.53 ERA) earned the win, throwing two innings while allowing one run (zero earned) on three hits. The lefty struck out two.
Kyle Crockett, who has yet to allow an earned run this season through 6 1/3 innings, tossed a perfect inning while striking out two. Ben Heller, a 22nd round round pick out of Olivet Nazarene University in this year’s draft, entered in the eighth and worked out of a jam after giving up two walks. Trevor Frank also worked out of a jam in the ninth, but ultimately struck out Ryan Huck to end the game.
The Lake Monster offense, which entered the game last in the league with a .222 batting average, also collected 10 hits, but failed to produce in pressure situations. Catcher Ryan Gorton collected three hits, all singles, while B.J. Boyd added two with an RBI. Boyd entered the game leading the team with a .340 average. The team ended the game going 2-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners.
Vermont starting pitcher Lou Trivino threw well, lasting five innings while allowing five hits, and one run. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. The right-hander threw 46 of his 74 pitches for strikes. Fernand Cruzano (0-1, 9.90) struggled in relief for the Lake Monsters and surrendered three runs (two earned) on three hits. Trevor Bayless entered in the ninth and allowed the home run to Garcia.
The win brings Mahoning Valley to 8-21 on the season, 9.5 games in back of first-place Jamestown. With the loss, Vermont falls to 12-16. The Scrappers will have a day off Tuesday before travelling to Brooklyn for a three-game set with the 12-16 Cyclones. First pitch on Wednesday is set for 7:05 pm.