Montpelier, Vt. - First baseman Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anselm) set a new league single season RBI record, but it was enough for Vermont (17-21) as they fell 6-5 to Mystic in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action on Monday night. The loss was the fifth straight for the Mountaineers while the Schooners (8-31) won consecutive games for the first time all summer.
Kelly would begin the scoring for the Mountaineers in the bottom of the first when he singled home Aaron Barbosa (Dracut, Mass./Northeastern), tying the NECBL single season RBI record of 42 set by Effrey Valdez in 2010 for the Lowell All-Americans. Mystic starter Bob Cook would then retire the next two batters to hold the damage to just one run.
In the top of the second, the Schooners hit consecutive singles off starter Brad Schnelle to begin the inning. A sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third and only one out before Schnelle (Moon Township, Pa./Seton Hill) intentionally walked Connor David to load the bases. Unfortunately for Schnelle, Greg Porter would launch a grand slam over the left field wall turning a one run advantage into a 4-1 deficit. He would however get the next two batters to pop out ending the inning.
Schnelle would settle in nicely after that tossing four more scoreless innings while striking out a total of four batters. He allowed just three more hits during his outing without allowing more than one base runner to reach during the duration of his start which proved to be a no-decision effort.
His team would also work to erase the deficit and avoid the loss. In the bottom of the third, PJ Jones (Vancouver, Wash./Washington State) singled to begin the frame before being retired on a fielder's choice from Brian O'Grady to put one on and one out. Barbosa would the ground out to third bringing up Kelly with a man in scoring position. A balk from Bob Cook put O'Grady (Warminster, Pa./Rutgers) at third before Kelly singled him home setting a new league RBI mark and cutting the lead to 4-2 Mystic.
That would remain the score until the bottom of the seventh inning when Vermont put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Jones hit a sharp ball up the middle that Schooners second baseman Anthony Turgeon threw out of play allowing two runs to come home to tie the game. Reliever AJ Rataic would be called on to maintain the deadlock. He issued a walk to O'Grady putting two on and nobody out before getting Barbosa and Kelly to pop-out. With two outs, Jones was caught stealing when he and O'Grady had a miscommunication putting Jones off of second before being run down for the final out of the frame.
After pitching a perfect seventh in relief, Casey Delgado (Miami, Fla./Austin Peay) came out for the eighth and hit the lead off man in Andrew Santomauro. A double from Matt OHerron scored Santomauro to give Mystic a 5-4 lead. After getting two outs, Delgado gave up an RBI single to Kyle Holland making the advantage 6-4 Schooners going into the bottom of the eighth.
Rataic would work around a two out double in the eighth but found trouble in the ninth. Jones would hit a one out double and come home to score on O'Grady's double putting the tying run in scoring position with one out. Barbosa would fly out to left giving Kelly the opportunity to tie or win the game. After working the count full, Kelly grounded up the first base line where Rataic fielded and took it to the bag to end the game.
Delgado (2-4) took the loss giving up two runs on three hits in three innings while walking one and striking out four. Meanwhile, Rataic (4-1) got the win tossing three full innings in relief allowing three runs on three hits.
Vermont will conclude their regular season home schedule with a game against Holyoke on Tuesday night. All game action can be heard live on ESPN 1240, WSKI and online at www.thevermontmountaineers.com