Lopez K’s 13 in 4-1 Win over Reading
Reynaldo Lopez matched a career best with 13 strikeouts as the Harrisburg Senators tamed the Reading Fightin’ Phils, 4-1, to take the rubber match in their three-gamer series.
Reading got on the scoreboard early as Jesmuel Valentin led off the game with a triple and scored two batters later. But that was the only run the Fightin’ Phils would get on the day as Lopez (2-5) cruised the rest of the way. The 22-year-old right-hander dominated over seven innings allowing five hits without walking a batter.
“After the first batter, he realized he needed to mix it up. This team can hit,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “The biggest thing with him, like anybody else, is the fastball command and that sets up everything else.”
Harrisburg (37-31) took a lead in the second inning after Brian Jeroloman delivered an RBI single that scored Chris Bostick. The next batter, Stephen Perez, hit a pop foul down the first base line that carried far enough for Zach Collier to tag up and score from third base.
Reading starter Ricardo Pinto and Lopez traded zeroes until Harrisburg pushed across an insurance run in the seventh inning. Perez reached on a throwing error, stole second base, advanced on an errant throw, and waltzed home on Kevin Keyes’ pinch-hit single.
The Fightin’ Phils threatened in the eighth as a hit by pitch and single put runners at the corner off reliever Andrew Robinson. Nick Lee was summoned to face Dylan Cozens, the leading home run hitter in the Eastern League, but the southpaw walked him on five pitches. Wander Suero worked out of the bases loaded jam by inducing a shallow fly to right.
Neftali Soto pushed the Senators’ advantage to 4-1 in the eighth with a solo home run. The dinger was Soto’s second hit of the day as he joined Collier as the only Senators with more than one base knock.
Despite allowing a couple of singles, Suero earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Reading’s two big hitters, Cozens and Rhys Hoskins, came into the series leading the Eastern League with 19 and 17 home runs respectively. Harrisburg pitchers held the pair to a combined 1-for-22 with ten strikeouts and two walks. “Cozens and Hoskins weren’t really factors in this series and I think it’s because they established inside at then mixed it up,” LeCroy said. “They executed the plan we had. We weren’t going to let them beat us but at the same time, they went after them pounding it in and that’s the difference.”
Harrisburg has a day off on Monday as they travel to Portland to face the Sea Dogs for a three-game series. Tyler Mapes will square off against Kevin McAvoy on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. from historic Hadlock Field. 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 6:45 p.m.