Two late inning rallies fall short in Senators’ 4-2 loss

Kevin Keyes’ team-leading 11th homer not enough

Video Highlights

Despite putting the tying runs on in each of the last two innings, the Harrisburg Senators couldn’t capitalize and fell 4-2 to the Erie SeaWolves in front of 3,573 fans at FNB Field. The reeling Senators are now just 2-8 in their last 10 games and are only four games above .500 for the first time since July 15.

Harrisburg starter Mark Blackmar was solid for eight innings, but the 24-year-old was victimized by two opportune triples from Gustavo Nunez. The first was after a third strike wild pitch that bounced past catcher Nick Rickles all the way to the visiting on-deck circle to extend the third inning. The second was after a leadoff walk that eventually allowed Nunez to score from third base on an RBI groundout.

“He kept us in the ballgame,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “He gave us a much needed eight innings of work. We didn’t do anything offensively to help him.”

SeaWolves’ starter Tyler Alexander tamed the Senators’ bats for seven innings. Harrisburg got on the board on a Kevin Keyes line drive that rattled off the left field foul pole, but the Erie southpaw turned in his best Class AA outing as he held the Senators to only four hits.

Erie looked in control when Corey Jones belted a solo home run in the top of the eighth to extend the lead to 4-1 and provide the SeaWolves some breathing room.

Shawn Pleffner was one of three Senators with two base hits in the 4-2 loss (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Shawn Pleffner was one of three Senators with two base hits in the 4-2 loss (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

The Senators didn’t go down without a fight in each of the last two innings. They began the bottom half of the eighth by loading the bases on a walk and two singles. Pinch-hitter Isaac Ballou roped a line drive to deep center field, but Anthony Gose tracked it down running away from the plate. The long drive was enough to score Drew Ward from third, however the Senators failed to plate any more in the frame.

In the ninth, the Senators strung back to back singles from Shawn Pleffner and Jose Marmolejos together to put the tying runners on the corners. Erie relievers Joe Mantiply and Paul Voelker struck out Ward and Rickles to end the threat and game.

“They’re just trying to do too much,” LeCroy said about some questionable baserunning. “I hope it’s because they want to do something to help the team win. But that’s how you learn.”

“It’s just young, aggressive mistakes and hopefully they won’t make any more.”

Blackmar (3-3) surrendered four runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three in collaring the loss. Sam Runion worked out of traffic in his only inning of work to post a scoreless frame.

The Senators conclude their three-game series with the Erie SeaWolves at FNB Field on Thursday as Michael Brady takes on Josh Turley. All women 18 and older will also get the chance to find a buried diamond necklace after the game in the popular Diamond Dig. 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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