Unable to hold three different leads, the Senators fall 5-4 to Erie

Zach Collier (Samuel Getty/Harrisburg Senators)

Manager Matt LeCroy is usually affable after games win or lose. That’s not to say he isn’t down after losses, just that he knows baseball is inherently a game of failure. But after Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to Erie, LeCroy couldn’t hide the frustration.

Frustration that has built up with his pitching staff giving away leads the offense scratched out. Frustration with his young catcher unable to secure the baseball in a key situation. Frustration at winnable games being lost to late letdowns.

Harrisburg established the early lead when Zach Collier singled, stole second base, and came around to score on Erie first baseman Gabriel Quintana‘s error. But the SeaWolves responded in the next half-inning as they used a leadoff double and two long flyballs to plate the tying run.

The Senators once again retook the lead in the fifth inning with a pair of doubles off the bats of Ozzie Abreu and Collier. But the SeaWolves responded in the next half-inning with a pair of runs to gain a 3-2 advantage off Harrisburg starter John Simms in his last inning of work.

Mario Lisson‘s flare over the first baseman scored Yadiel Hernandez and Stephen Perez to once again give the Senators a lead. But the SeaWolves responded in the next half-inning with a run to tie it up as Quintana blasted a homer off reliever Jimmy Cordero.

Are you sensing a pattern?

“We couldn’t pitch with a lead,” LeCroy said. “We got big hits to take leads and we couldn’t hold them.”

*****

In the ninth inning, Erie moved the speedy Harold Castro to third base to put the go-ahead run 90 feet from scoring. But with two outs, it was going to require a base hit to bring him home.

Or not.

A breaking ball down in the dirt scooted past catcher Raudy Read all the way to the backstop allowing Castro to score easily.

“Raudy had a tough inning,” LeCroy said. “He didn’t secure the baseball.”

“Being a former catcher, sometimes you get caught in between. But you have to do everything you can to keep that ball in front of you.”

*****

After Harrisburg relievers had to cover 14 innings over the last two games, the bullpen was thin headed into Tuesday’s contest. LeCroy said he needed at least six innings from Harrisburg starter Simms, if not more.

Simms went the six innings and even qualified for a quality start allowing only three runs, but his skipper had hoped for a better outing. “(Simms) tinkered with the ball up and lived on the edge a little bit all game,” LeCroy said. “Eventually when you stay up, they’re going to get you.”

*****

Collier was the only Senator with a multi-hit game as the outfielder went 3-for-5 and raised his average to .310 on the season…Wander Suero collared his first loss of the season.

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