BURLINGTON, Vt. (August 10, 2022) -- The Vermont Lake Monsters made a statement in Wednesday night's opening game of the Futures League Championship Series, posting four crooked numbers and compiling 16 hits on the way to a 12-0 win over the Nashua Silver Knights at Centennial Field.
Catcher Connor Bowman (Tufts) went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and game-high five RBI -- tying the league's postseason record -- to lead a Vermont offense that featured five repeat hitters. The top-seeded Lake Monsters have scored double-digit runs in 16 of their 66 games this summer after adding to that total in Tuesday's 10-2 semifinal series-clinching win at Westfield.
Additionally, Vermont shortstop Cooper Kelly (Kansas) also had two hits and two RBI, while first baseman Brian Schaub (Bryant) and center fielder Kyle Hoog (UMass) crossed the plate three times apiece. Second baseman Tommy Martin (Yale) went 2-for-5, drove in a run and swiped two bases from the top of the batting order. Left fielder Harrison Didawick (Virginia) added two hits of his own.
After needing to erase 2-0 deficits in their two semifinal games, the Lake Monsters scored twice on Bowman's two-run, two-out double into the left-center field gap and cruised from there.
The first run-scoring inning provided more than enough offense for Vermont left-hander Max Moore (Mount St. Mary's), who struck out seven and scattered just six hits across his seven innings. Nashua put two runners on with less than two outs in the second and sixth innings, but Moore was able to escape both situations and preserve Vermont's third shutout of the summer.
Vermont's first five batters reached base and produced runs in the fourth inning. Kelly punctuated the frame with another two-run double.
The Monsters crossed the plate in the sixth before adding two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Hoog played a major role during the latter two frames, including socking a triple and scoring on Bowman's single in the seventh.
Bowman's five RBI matched the Futures League postseason-record total that second-year Lake Monster right fielder Jimmy Evans (Tufts) posted during last summer's semifinal series against Worcester.
Despite the loss, Nashua first baseman Kyle Wolff (Boston College) posted a 3-for-4 night and right fielder Shane McNamara (Eastern Nazarene) went 2-for-3. Wolff, McNamara and shortstop Brady O'Brien (Colby) all doubled for the Silver Knights.
Vermont relievers Liam Reiner (St. Lawrence) and Oliver Pudnar (Manhattan) pitched shutout innings with a strikeout to close the game.
Game two of the series is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at Historic Holman Stadium in Nashua, N.H. The Lake Monsters, who set the Futures League's single-season record for victories for the second straight summer, are one win away from their second consecutive championship.
Vermont's Nick Berger (Rollins/2-1, 4.08 ERA) and Nashua's Brock Pare (Salem State/0-4, 5.35) are the projected starting pitchers for Thursday's contest.