WORCESTER, MA — The Worcester Bravehearts scored five times over the first two innings for an early 5-1 lead, then added a couple of insurance solo home runs after Vermont had cut the deficit to one run to even the best-of-three semifinal series with a 7-5 victory over the Lake Monsters Friday night at Fitton Field.
The teams will now return to historic Centennial Field 6:05pm Saturday for the deciding game three with the winner advancing to meet the Norwich Sea Unicorns in the finals. Click here to purchase tickets for Game Three.
Worcester got a Jack Thorbaun two-run double in the bottom of the first inning and a two-run triple in the second from Middlebury College’s Nathan Samii, who then scored on a sacrifice fly for the 5-1 advantage.
Vermont had begun the game with three straight walks to load the bases with no outs, but back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout kept them off the scoreboard. Then in the second, Kyle Lodise (Augusta) led off with a triple, but was only able to score on a two-out Braveheart error.
The Lake Monsters scored a run in the fourth on a Trevor Cohen (Rutgers) two-out bases loaded walk, then added in the fifth after a Jordan Kang (Harvard) double put two runners in scoring position, Vermont cut the lead to 5-4 on a Colby Brouillette (Central Connecticut) RBI groundout and Eric Becker (Virginia) RBI single.
Both of the Bravehearts solo homers came on two-out blasts, a Vincent Eramo home run in the fifth and Daniel Bucciero shot in the seventh for a 7-4 lead. Vermont loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but could only score one run on a two-out wild pitch to leave the tying run at second base.
- Becker 2-for-3, 2 BB, R, RBI
- Kang 1-for-4, BB, 2 R, 2B
- Matt Hirsch (Tufts) 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
- The loss was 1st for Lake Monsters in 6 semifinal games over 3 FCBL seasons (swept semifinal series in 2021 and 2022)
- Lake Monsters Racine MVP Francis Ferguson (Eastern Nazarene) allowed season-high 5 runs (4 earned) with 3 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts in 2-plus innings
- Vermont finished game 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position (hit .273 RISP during season), while Worcester 2-for-6 RISP (all first 4 innings)
- Lake Monsters outhit Bravehearts 8-5 and outwalked Worcester 10-3, but Vermont left 13 runners on base (3 LOB for Bravehearts)
Best-of-3 Semifinal Series
G1 Wednesday: Vermont 7, Worcester 2 (Monsters lead 1-0)
G2 Friday: Worcester 7, Vermont 5 (Series tied 1-1)
G3 Saturday: Worcester at Vermont, 6:05pm
Best-of-3 Semifinal Series
G1 Tuesday: Norwich 3, New Britain 2
G2 Wednesday: New Britain 3, Norwich 2 (Series tied 1-1)
G3 Thursday: Norwich 12, New Britain 2 (Norwich wins series 2-1)