Senators survive scare, top B-Mets for 8-4 win
Marmolejos provides breathing room with first Double-A homer
After racing out to a four-run first inning, the Harrisburg Senators needed some late insurance runs to secure the 8-4 win over the Binghamton Mets in front of 5,029 fans at FNB Field. With the victory, Harrisburg moved to 63-56 on the season to keep pace with Altoona and gain a half-game on the rained out Akron RubberDucks.
“This is a big win for us because we’re going through a little rut,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “Young guys trying to do too much. Games are a little different than they were at the beginning of the season.”
Binghamton scored an unearned run in the first inning after Harrisburg second baseman Stephen Perez committed two errors, but the Senators responded in the bottom half of the inning. After retiring the first two batters, B-Mets’ starter Rainy Lara walked the bases loaded to set the table as the Senators proceeded to even the score on a wild pitch that got away from catcher Xorge Carillo. Perez redeemed his earlier miscues with a single that drove in two to give the Senators the lead. Spencer Kieboom singled home Perez to push the first inning advantage to 4-1.
“I had an old manager who used to tell me, ‘You’ve got to drive in more than you let in’. He (Perez) came in and got a big, big hit for us,” LeCroy said. “I think that took the edge off a little bit when you can answer back.
Harrisburg tacked onto their lead as Andrew Stevenson scored from second base on a Texas Leaguer to shallow left off the bat of Drew Ward. It was a cushion the Senators would desperately need in the game.
Senators’ starter Tyler Mapes cruised through the first five innings allowing that lone unearned run until Binghamton got to the right-hander in the sixth. The B-Mets strung together four singles and a hit batsman to cut the deficit down to 5-4 but nothing more as the tying run was cut down at the plate when Maikis De La Cruz tried to score from second base on an infield single. Mapes (11-8) scattered 10 hits over six frames while walking one and striking out four to match the Eastern League lead in pitcher wins.
Harrisburg added three insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings as Jose Marmolejos clubbed his first Class AA home run and Isaac Ballou delivered a two-run double.
“He’s a ballplayer. He truly competes every night,” LeCroy said about Ballou. “He’s not the fastest guy. He doesn’t throw the hardest. He’s got a knack for being right in the middle and making things happen.”
“He’s one of the guys you pull for so much because he’s had to grind it out his whole life. I love him. I would like him around my clubs any time.”
Wander Suero was excellent in two innings of scoreless relief stemming the Binghamton momentum and Andrew Robinson worked a perfect ninth in the victory. “He threw strikes,” LeCroy said about Suero. “For the first half, I thought he didn’t throw enough strikes. He lived on the edge. Now he’s starting to throw more strikes. His ball naturally cuts, but I like his breaking ball. It’s enabled him to pitch late in these ballgames.”
The Senators conclude their only series this season at FNB Field with the Binghamton Mets on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Harrisburg sends Phillips Valdez to the mound looking for the series victory as Binghamton counters with Josh Zeid. Special guests will be at the ballpark as Chase, Zuma, and Marshall from the hit kids show The Paw Patrol will be on hand to meet everyone. 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 1:15 p.m.