Clones sweep Lake Monsters

Brooklyn sweeps State College

Cyclones 10
Vermont Lake Monsters 5

Aug. 12 at MCU Park

The Cyclones are one game away from the division lead after battering the hapless Vermont Lake Monsters in a three-game home sweep.

Starter Rainy Lara was uncharacteristically shaky on the mound — giving up four runs on seven hits over five innings. But the Clones offense came to the rescue on the back of third baseman Dimas Ponce’s big game. With the team down 2–0 in the fourth, Ponce belted a line-drive single to right that started the Brooklyn rally. Shortstop Phillip Evans and designated hitter Kevin Plawecki singled to load the bases before first basemen Alexander Sanchez brought Ponce and Evans home on a double to left field. The Cyclones tacked on two more runs in the inning to take the lead.

Vermont battled back to tie the game at 4–4 in the fifth, but it was Ponce again who stepped up. The Panamanian sensation belted a Brent Powers hanger over the fence for his first homer of the season — giving the Clones a lead they would not relinquish.

Brooklyn stepped up with another offensive in the sixth inning, putting the Lake Monsters under water for good. Right fielder Eudy Pina singled with one out, followed by double by center fielder Brandon Nimmo that advanced Pina to third. Ponce then dropped down a bunt that brought both runners home thanks in part to a Vermont error. Strong hitting by Plawecki and Sanchez put two more runs on the board.

The Clones scored again in the seventh, and the bullpen kept the Lake Monsters quiet. Pitchers Logan Taylor, David Wynn, and John Mincone blanked Vermont for three innings until closer Tyler Vanderheiden gave up his second run of the season in the ninth.

The Cyclones are one game behind the Hudson Valley Renegades in the fight for the McNamara division crown, and six games ahead in the wild card race.

The Cyclones are home again at MCU Park [1904 Surf Ave. at W. 17th Street in Coney Island, (718) 449–8497, www.brooklyncyclones.com] on Aug. 21 at 7 pm as they take on the Tri-City Valley Cats.

— With Nathan Karp and Joshua Macdonald

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.