Pitching leads Muckdogs past Vermont
BURLINGTON, VT. – There have been Batavia Muckdog games this season when you could almost feel the stare of Evan Brabrand from the bull pen as the closer wants the ball every night.
Because of two straight losses, he had to wait.
Sunday night, Brabrand’s wait was over and he rewarded manager Tom Lawless with his sixth save of the young season in a 3-0 Batavia win over the Vermont Lake Monsters on the road.
Brabrand, a 9th round draft pick this year by the Miami Marlins out of Liberty University, is now 6-for-6 in save opportunities, as he threw a scoreless seventh.
Batavia (18-11) maintains a first-place lead over West Virginia in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division and has a chance to win the series Monday.
The entire Batavia pitching staff has a 3.02 ERA and has struck out 260 batters in 247 innings. Josh Simpson picked up his fourth hold of the season, throwing two perfect innings in relief with two strikeouts before giving way to Brabrand. Simpson is a 2019 32nd round draft pick out of Columbia.
Starting pitcher Julio Frias improved to 2-1 as he threw six innings of 2-hit ball with five strikeouts and just one run allowed. The Marlins signed the 21-year-old lefty out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 and he has developed into a strong starter with 36 strikeouts in 30 innings.Batavia has given up just five hits the last two games.
Batavia picked up two runs in the fourth when Albert Guaimaro singled in Sean Reynolds, then Brayan Hernandez drove in Nic Ready for a 2-0 lead.
Holding on to a 2-1 lead in the ninth, Hernandez led off with a walk and was bunted to second by Ronal Reynoso.J.D. Orr was intentionally walked so with two outs, Lawless put the double steal on and it worked as they stole to second and third. The move paid off as Hernandez scored on a wild pitch before a groundout ended the inning.
The Muckdogs will return home on Wednesday and Thursday to take on the Auburn Doubledays (Washington Nationals). The team is also home on July 20, 21 and 22 against Mahoning Valley (Cleveland Indians).