Jaron Long Pitches Senators to 6-3 Win
The Harrisburg Senators took advantage of numerous New Hampshire miscues and used another strong pitching performance from Jaron Long to beat the Fisher Cats, 6-3.
“The boys battled. They came out and played a little sloppy that first inning, but they turned it on,” manager Matt LeCroy said.
Two infield errors gave the Fisher Cats a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Harrisburg had a chance to bat. But the Senators (27-24) responded with the tying run as Neftali Soto singled back up the middle to score Wilmer Difo from second base. A Shawn Pleffner sacrifice fly pushed the Senators ahead 2-1 in the second inning.
“It’s a long game. It’s all going to even out,” Long said on the early Senators’ errors. “You‘ve got to just keep your cool and make one pitch at a time. Whatever’s already happened, it’s over.”
“That inning ended up being the most important one.“
Harrisburg starter Long held the Fisher Cats hitless into the fourth inning when Dwight Smith Jr. singled to lead off. Two batters later, Rowdy Tellez lined a home run just inside the foul pole and into the Senators’ bullpen to re-take the lead for the Fisher Cats.
The Senators broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning as they loaded the bases on a hit batsman, a walk, and an infield single. Zach Collier followed with a chopper that bounced underneath New Hampshire first baseman Matt Dean’s glove and into right field scoring two runs. Harrisburg plated another run to increase their lead to 5-3 when the Fisher Cats failed to turn a double play.
“Look what happens when you put the ball in play. You put pressure on them to make plays. It’s not easy. Stuff’s on the line,” LeCroy said. “But if you strike out, you make it easy.”
Harrisburg tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning when Fisher Cats’ reliever Chris Smith threw a bunt single over Dean’s head at first base allowing Soto to score from second base.
Long (3-2) went seven strong innings, yielding three runs on five hits. The 24-year-old right-hander didn’t surrender a free pass and struck out a season-high eight batters. “Ultimately if you attack hitters down in the zone you might give up some hits, but ground balls will be there and hopefully you can limit the big damage,” Long said.
Both southpaws in the Senators’ bullpen, Nick Lee and Bryan Harper, each worked a scoreless inning of relief to secure the victory.
The Senators conclude their three-game set against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. Tyler Mapes will start for Harrisburg and will be countered by Shane Dawson for the Fisher Cats. The Matt LeCroy Show will begin the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m. on Fox Sports 1460 AM or at senatorsbaseball.com.