Giolito K’s 12 in Senators 6-2 Win

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Behind a dazzling start by top prospect Lucas Giolito, the Harrisburg Senators sent the Akron RuberDucks to their sixth straight loss, 6-2.

“This is the hardest working group I’ve ever had. I think they’re starting to gel together and pull for one another. I think that’s made a big difference,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “We’re not the most talented team by any means, but we’ve put that added pressure on people that we come to play every day.”

Harrisburg (31-28) raced out to an early lead with two runs in the second inning. Chris Bostick tripled home Neftali Soto all the way from first base and Shawn Pleffner delivered a two-out single up the middle to score Bostick. But Akron answered with two runs of their own in the top half of the third as the RubberDucks took advantage of two Senators’ errors.

“Giolito overcame an error and he couldn’t finish a couple of people off that inning. But he made some good pitches and then settled down,” LeCroy said.

Kevin Keyes gave the Senators the lead for good in the fourth when he followed a Bostick lead-off walk with his fourth home run of the season, and second in four games since returning from Triple-A Syracuse.

“It’s what we’ve kind of missed all year having somebody that can pick us up with a couple of runs on one swing,” LeCroy said.

Lucas Giolito set a career-high with 12 strikeouts over seven innings (Will Bentzel / MiLB.com)

Lucas Giolito set a career-high with 12 strikeouts over seven innings (Will Bentzel / MiLB.com)

The two-run cushion was more than enough for Giolito (5-2) who settled down after the ‘Ducks had tied the game up. The 21-year-old dazzled over seven strong innings allowing two unearned runs on four hits and a walk. Giolito set a career-high with 12 strikeouts while picking up his fifth straight victory.

“In his mind, he wants to get that thing (curve ball) to where he can throw it for a strike and where he can wipe it out,” Nationals’ minor league pitching coordinator Paul Menhart said. “Early on (in the season) he was getting around it, and he made a nice adjustment, a conscious effort to make that thing go down and it showed. He was able to get some defensive passes so it was offerable early and then out of the strike zone late.”

Harrisburg added two insurance runs of Akron reliever Casey Weather in the bottom of the seventh inning. A leadoff walk to Rafael Bautista, two throwing errors on the same play, and a passed ball did the damage for the Senators.

Koda Glover came on in relief of Giolito and dominated over two perfect innings with two strikeouts to secure the victory.

The Senators and RubberDucks clash in the second of their four-game weekend set on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. John Simms gets the spot start for Harrisburg against Akron’s Shawn Morimando. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at senatorsbaseball.com, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 5:45 p.m.

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