Rain delay changes momentum as Senators drop second straight

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A 22-minute rain delay changed the momentum of the game on Sunday night at FNB Field as the Harrisburg Senators dropped their second straight game to the Richmond Flying Squirrels, 3-2.

In the first inning, the Senators loaded the bases on a walk and consecutive singles from Jose Marmolejos and Neftali Soto. Drew Ward pushed the lead run home as he beat out a potential double play groundball to give Harrisburg the 1-0 advantage.

Coming off a horrific start in Erie, Taylor Hill looked much better as he retired the first six batters he faced before the rain started coming down harder and play was temporarily suspended after just three pitches to Richmond’s leadoff hitter in the third inning.

After the rain delay, Harrisburg’s at-bats became abbreviated against Richmond starter Andrew Suarez despite having him on the ropes earlier. “Quick outs,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “Early contact and early outs.” At one point, Suarez set down 17 Senators in a row before issuing a leadoff walk in the seventh inning to Soto.

As for Hill, he continued pitching well but gave up a solo shot, his 16th home run allowed in nine starts this season, and a triple that scored after an error on the relay throw in the fourth inning. But Harrisburg finally got to Suarez in the seventh when Raudy Read doubled and Isaac Ballou delivered the RBI single into right field to tie the game up at two.

It would be short-lived, however, when Miguel Gomez hit his second homer of the game to lead off the eighth inning against Harrisburg reliever Ryan Brinley. The Senators would once again threaten in the ninth inning as they put the tying and go-ahead runs on third and second base respectively. But this time Ballou lifted a 3-0 pitch into left field that was easily corralled by Dylan Davis for the final out.

“We had a chance,” LeCroy said. “We just couldn’t get that hit.”

*****

Collin Balester, who pitched in 20 games for the Senators in 2006 and 2007, garnered the win for the Flying Squirrels. The 30-year-old right-hander was pitching in just his third game for Richmond after getting signed by the San Francisco Giants organization in early May. Balester pitched 2.1 scoreless innings while striking out four in picking up his first victory of the 2017 season.

*****

Soto’s single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to 15 games…Brinley collared the loss evening his record at 3-3 for the season…Read was the only Senator with multiple hits as the catcher went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.

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