Bautista single walks it off for Senators
Bullpen throws six hitless innings
Rafael Bautista delivered the bases-loaded single in the 13th inning to give the Harrisburg Senators a stirring 4-3 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats. The win was necessary to keep pace in the playoff chase with the Akron RubberDucks who swept a doubleheader against Bowie.
“I’m just really proud of all of them,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “They keep fighting. No matter what it ends up, it’s been fun going through it.”
“These kids understand that each at-bat, each pitch what it sort of feels like (in the major leagues). You magnify that feeling a billion times if you ever get a chance to do that up there. That’s why you play. This is fun.”
The Senators broke through first as Wilmer Difo clubbed a solo shot, his sixth home run of the season, to give the Senators an early 1-0 lead. They would add to that in the fourth inning as three singles from Andrew Stevenson, Difo, and Jose Marmolejos doubled the Senators’ advantage to 2-0.
Hartford responded on a Juan Ciriaco home run, but Senators’ starter Michael Brady was in command early. That is until the sixth inning when the Yard Goats took a 3-2 lead on three straight singles including a throwing error from Shawn Pleffner on a bunt base hit.
Brady would leave the game in line for the loss with seven innings of six-hit ball while striking out eight. But Harrisburg would take the right-hander off the hook as they loaded the bases on a pinch-hit double from Mark Blackmar and two walks. Once again Wilmer Difo delivered as he stroked a game-tying single into left field. With the bases still loaded, Pleffner failed in his shot at redemption as he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The bullpens matched zero for zero into the 13th inning when Harrisburg rallied on a couple of walks and a sacrifice bunt fielder’s choice. That set the stage for Bautista who ripped a single up the middle, through the drawn-in infield to score Stephen Perez from third base for the win.
“I can’t say enough about all three of them,” LeCroy said about relievers Nick Lee, Andrew Robinson, and Sam Runion who worked six scoreless innings without allowing a hit.
The Senators continue their final series of the season against Hartford with a doubleheader on Saturday evening at FNB Field. Tyler Mapes and John Simms will get the ball for Harrisburg, while Devin Burke and Konner Wade will do the same for the Yard Goats. The first 1,000 women 18 and older will receive a pink infinity scarf as the Senators celebrate Pink Night donning specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off post-game with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. The games 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.