Soto Drives in Seven; Sens Beat Erie 14-3

Tyler Mapes sharp again for the Senators

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The Harrisburg Senators rode a resurgent offense to pummel the Erie SeaWolves 14-3 on Thursday night in front of 3,110 fans at FNB Field. The win clinched a series victory for Harrisburg (45-40) in their penultimate set before the All-Star break.

“They responded,” manager Matt LeCroy said about the Senators’ reaction to his closed door meeting. “I was really proud of the at-bats, the effort and energy tonight to come up and win the series.”

With Harrisburg leading 3-0 into the fifth, Neftali Soto and the Senators broke the game open with two big innings. Soto became the third Senator this season to drive in seven runs as the first baseman smoked a three-run home run and grand slam on successive at-bats. The long balls were Soto’s ninth and tenth of the season.

Neftali Soto drove in seven runs with two home runs on Thursday night (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Neftali Soto drove in seven runs with two home runs on Thursday night (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

The Senators plated a season-high 14 runs on 16 hits including Rafael Bautista who went 4-for-5 and Andrew Stevenson who tallied three base knocks. Wilmer Difo drove in four runs with a home run of his own and Isaac Ballou tripled home a pair when the game was still in question.

“That’s what I’ve been proud of the most,” LeCroy said about his shortstop. “Even though Difo has had offensive struggles, he’s never taken it out to his defense. That’s a sign of maturity and the way he comes prepared every day.”

The runs were more than enough for Harrisburg starter Tyler Mapes who held Erie to one hit through six innings. The SeaWolves eventually got to the right-hander for a pair of runs, but Mapes (8-6) was in control for most of the night in picking up the victory. He scattered five hits while walking one and striking out five.

John Simms worked the final two innings to secure the victory for Harrisburg.

Harrisburg opens a three-game series with the Akron RubberDucks on Friday evening at FNB Field. Michael Brady goes for the Senators opposed by Michael Peoples for the 7:00 p.m. game. The Senators will be wearing Home Improvement themed jerseys to coincide with the appearance of Richard Karn, better known as Al Borland from the sitcom. The specialty jerseys will be auctioned off during and after the game to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 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.

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