Doubleheader Split Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive

Simms and Suero blank Yard Goats in nightcap

Game 1 Video Highlights
Game 2 Video Highlights

The Harrisburg Senators split Saturday night’s doubleheader to keep their playoff hopes alive headed into the season’s last two games. Hartford overcame an early deficit in the first game, 3-2, and the Senators shut out the Yard Goats in the second game, 3-0. Harrisburg (74-66) needs to win their final two games paired with either Akron or Altoona losing both of theirs to qualify for the postseason.

“Our backs are against the wall, but we live for tomorrow,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “You never know. I’ve seen it happen.”

In the first game of the twinbill, the Senators had Hartford starter Devin Burke on the ropes in the first inning. They scored a pair but squandered additional chances to break the game open as Andrew Stevenson was thrown out trying to steal third base and Adrian Sanchez struck out with the bases loaded to end the threat.

“We had a chance to put the dagger in them and we just didn’t have good at-bats. Sanchie came up and didn’t have a competitive at-bat,” LeCroy said. “Then he (Burke) settled in. We didn’t hit the fastball, we didn’t hit the change-up. We were just in between.”

Burke settled down and the Yard Goats chipped away at the lead against Tyler Mapes scoring a single run in the second and third innings to tie it up. It would remain that way until the sixth when Hartford pulled off its second successful suicide squeeze bunt of the night to score the eventual game winner.

Mapes (12-10) tossed a complete game, his league-leading fourth of the season, scattering eight hits and walking two while striking out just one.

Rafael Bautista went 4-for-4 but the rest of the lineup struggled as the Senators failed to advance a baserunner past first base after the first inning.

Rafael Bautista clubbed his second home run of the season (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

Rafael Bautista collected four of the Senators’ seven hits in the first game of the doubleheader (Will Bentzel / MiLB)

In the nightcap of the doubleheader, the Senators once again jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Nick Rickles launched a solo homer and Bautista singled home Sanchez. Rickles and Sanchez would once again factor into the scoring as they plated an insurance run in the sixth inning as the Senators increased their advantage to 3-0.

Unlike the first game, the Senators were able to hang on to the lead as John Simms and Wander Suero combined for the shutout against the Yard Goats. Simms (8-5) went five strong innings allowing four singles while striking out three and Suero locked down the victory.

The Senators once again square off against Hartford on Sunday afternoon at FNB Field as Phillips Valdez will be opposed by Zach Jemiola. Everyone in attendance will receive a giveaway item as the Senators say “Thank You” on Fan Appreciation Day. 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.

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