Senators Use Strong Start to Top Yard Goats 6-3
Postseason Hopes Remain Intact
With their season on the line, the Harrisburg Senators came out of the gate early to best the Hartford Yard Goats, 6-3, in front of 4,399 fans at FNB Field. The Senators now need Akron or Altoona to lose in games later tonight to force the post-season picture to shift to the last day of the regular season.
“We met with them before the game and our staff told them that we asked them to buy into something and they all did,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I think we proved a lot of people wrong and overachieved. We just told them we were proud of them. They put themselves in a situation to play for something in the end.”
“I know people that played a long time, but never got that feeling. So enjoy it.”
Harrisburg (75-66) broke out the bats early and often as they scored runs in the first four innings of the game. Rafael Bautista led off the game with a triple, scored on a single from Andrew Stevenson, who in turn raced home on a Jose Marmolejos double. The Yard Goats responded with a run off Harrisburg starter Phillips Valdez, but the Senators took advantage of two Hartford errors on their way to answer with a run of their own.
Two more triples, off the bats of Isaac Ballou and Wilmer Difo, were the centerpieces of the next two innings as the Senators increased their lead to 6-2.
Valdez (6-4) was solid as the right-hander held the Yard Goats at arm’s length for seven innings. Hartford scored three runs, all the product of lead-off base hits, off Valdez as he walked two and struck out six in his outing.
Nick Lee, Mitch Lively, and Robert Benincasa secured the victory with two combined shutout innings.
“He’s made some big strides down the stretch,” LeCroy said of Lee. “A lot of them have. But he’s got a gift. He can spin it and he can get lefties. But you have to throw it over and I think he’s gotten a little more comfortable and he’s got to get more consistent.”
The Senators’ final game of the regular season is slated for Monday afternoon at FNB Field against the Hartford Yard Goats. The Senators will be holding their first ever Diaper Derby baby race with the finals in the middle of the field during the sixth inning. 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.