Blackmar and DeFratus muffle the Thunder
Stevenson triple key to big inning
The Harrisburg Senators used a big four-run inning that was more than enough as Mark Blackmar and Justin DeFratus combined for the 5-0 shutout over the visiting Trenton Thunder in front of 5,863 fans at FNB Field. It was the tenth shutout of the season for the Senators’ pitching staff.
The Senators (61-51) began their third inning rally with a leadoff walk by Spencer Kieboom. The catcher moved up to third with heads up baserunning on a flare into shallow right from Adrian Sanchez.
“Paul Molitor was the best at angles and taking that little inch. Here the greater you go up, the better the arms, the better the athletes. So every little advantage you get to score, you have to do it. Like Kieboom tonight that was a huge baserunning play,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “That just shows you if you are thinking first-to-third and you’re smart about it you can make it. To me that was the biggest play of the game.”
Rafael Bautista followed with a chopper off home plate that he beat out for a single and scored Kieboom for the Senators’ first run. Andrew Stevenson delivered the big blow in the inning with a triple down the right field line to score two. The speedy outfielder scored on a sacrifice fly from Isaac Ballou to give the Senators a four-run lead they would never relinquish.
Blackmar (3-1) dealt with traffic in five of his seven innings, but worked out of trouble each time. The 24-year-old right-hander scattered six hits and a walk while striking out four on an efficient 78 pitches.
“I thought if he kept it down, he could get these guys a little bit,” LeCroy said about Blackmar’s approach to Trenton. “The way their lineup is set up they put the ball in play and make you pay if you make a mistake. He did a nice job.”
Justin DeFratus worked two scoreless to secure the victory as only one batter reached base via a walk.
The Senators tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning as Adrian Sanchez delivered the RBI single to score Stephen Perez and push the advantage to 5-0.
The Senators and Thunder continue their weekend series with a 6:00 p.m. game on Saturday evening. Two of the best pitchers in the Eastern League square off as Tyler Mapes gets the ball for Harrisburg against Chance Adams. It will be Furry Friends Night at the ballpark as the Senators wear Pet Jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game and the Fur Circus will make their first appearance at FNB 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 5:45 p.m.