Montpelier, Vt. - Danbury's Tyler Gurman drove in four runs as the Danbury Westerners defeated the Vermont Mountaineers 6-4 in New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL) action on Friday night. The loss was the third straight for Vermont (17-19) as the Westerners won the fifth of eight games between the Western Division rivals.
Danbury (22-15) got the scoring started early in the second as Daniel Spingola reached on a fielders choice and later came home on Gurman's RBI double to start the scoring. Gurman would later score on a wild pitch from Mountaineers starter Alex Haines making the score 2-0 in favor of the Westerners. After setting down the side in order in the third, Haines (Greensboro, Pa./Seton Hill) again struggled in the fourth giving up a lead off home run to Andrew Garner and later another RBI to Gurman who singled home Spingola giving Danbury a 4-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Vermont struggled to hit Ben Brewster who faced the minimum 12 batters through the first four innings allowing just three base-runners. In the bottom of the fifth, Austin Green (San Diego, Calif./San Diego) hit a solo shot to begin the inning, breaking up the shutout. Johnny Mishu (Nashville, Tenn./Princeton) was hit by the next pitch and reached third on a two base throwing error from Brewster. An RBI ground out from Cole Peragine cut the deficit in half for the Mountaineers. Brewster then let the next two batters reach before being pulled with two on and one out. Tom Coughlin would enter and get an inning ending double play to avoid further damage.
The Westerners extended their lead back to three in the top of the sixth after Tom Zengel scored on a sacrifice fly from Gurman, who went 3-for-3 with four RBI, to make the lead 5-2 Danbury. However, in the home half of the frame, Rob Kelly (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Saint Anselm) belted his seventh homer of the year to make it a 5-3 deficit. In the bottom of the seventh, Vermont put a runner on third with nobody out when Peragine (Belle Ewert, Ontario/Stony Brook) hit a single up the middle that was misplayed by Spingola allowing Mishu to score from first and put Peragine on third as the tying run. Brandon Adkins was then brought into the game and forced Greg Partyka (Bartlett, Ill/Bradley) to hit a fly ball into left centerfield. Spingola made the catch and threw out a tagging Peragine to keep the Westerners ahead 5-4 after seven.
Danbury was able to push across one more insurance run in the top of the eighth when Gurman hit a high pop-up to center that Brian O'Grady (Warminster, Pa./Rutgers) lost in the lights allowing a run to come across. Adkins set down the side in order in the bottom of the eighth as Jake Stinnett did the same in the ninth to preserve the win.
Haines (5-2) took the loss giving up four runs, two earned, on five hits and striking out eight. Coughlin (1-0) got the win pitching one and two-thirds innings in relief allowing just one run on one hit while Stinnett picked up his fourth save of the year.
Vermont hits the road for their next two games beginning with a trip to Sanford to take on the Mainers on Saturday. All game action can be heard live on ESPN 1240, WSKI and online at www.thevermontmountaineers.com.
Game Notes: Kelly's home run gave him a league 40 RBI for the year. He is now two shy of tying Effrey Valdez's 2010 league record of 42...Haines' league best ERA ballooned to 0.90 on the year while his eighth strikeouts give him an NECBL best 54...With Holyoke's 9-5 loss at Keene, the Mountaineers magic number to clinch a playoff spot sits at two.