LeCroy searching for consistency from his pitchers as six-run inning goes for naught

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Despite a six-run fifth inning that gave the Senators a 6-5 lead, the Rumble Ponies galloped back ahead on Cody Decker’s grand slam off Harrisburg reliever R.C. Orlan to give Binghamton a 10-6 victory on Friday night at FNB Field.

Harrisburg starter Derek Eitel struggled to find the strike zone as the right-hander walked six in only 3.1 innings contributing to the Rumble Ponies plating five in the first four frames. Relievers Jimmy Cordero and Ryan Brinley also surrendered a free pass each to bring the team’s total to eight on the night.

“You don’t win too many games when you have eight walks,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “You’ve got to throw it over. You’ve got to be consistent. That’s why these guys are here. And when you’re not, this is what happens. You put pressure on yourself to make pitches. You put pressure on your team to make plays when you don’t throw it over.”

“The one thing these guys have to learn, because they all have the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, is consistency,” the skipper continued. “When scouts and people from our front office come to watch them play, they judge you on what it looks like and to see if you’re consistent. The guys that are the most consistent are the ones that are going to have a chance to move up.”

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Let’s delve into the six-run inning and how the Senators were able to solve knuckleballer Mickey Jannis despite pitching with a five-run advantage and needing just three outs to put himself in line for the win.

Alec Keller led off the inning with a sharp groundball that deflected off Decker, the Binghamton first baseman. Corban Joseph followed with a single and Jose Marmolejos was beaned to load the bases. Neftali Soto, the Senators’ cleanup hitter, bounced a double play ball to shortstop but the relay throw was wide at first and allowed Joseph to score behind Keller.

That cut the deficit to 5-2, but the Senators weren’t done yet as Raudy Read singled to keep the line moving. After Yadiel Hernandez lined out, an infield single from Stephen Perez loaded the bases. That was as much as Rumble Ponies’ manager Luis Rojas needed to see from Jannis as he went to the bullpen for Corey Taylor.

The Binghamton reliever hit Osvaldo Abreu with the first pitch he delivered to force in a run and keep the bases full. Pinch-hitter Mario Lisson, just added back to the roster from Syracuse, laced a double to the wall to clear the bases and give the Senators an improbable 6-5 lead they ultimately couldn’t hold.

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Drew Ward, who hadn’t played in the entire Altoona series, was retroactively placed on the disabled list prior to Friday’s game. The third baseman has been experiencing some minor discomfort in his left wrist.

“That’s the fortunate thing about the seven-day DL. You can give him some time off and then once he starts taking BP, we’ll see how it goes,” LeCroy said. “Tomorrow he’ll start running around a little bit to make sure his legs are still good.”

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The Senators added another one to their league-leading number of outfield assists when Hernandez threw out Kevin Kaczmarski trying to tag up on a fly ball to right field…Derek Self was the lone Senators’ pitcher to post a clean sheet as the reliever worked 1.2 scoreless innings while striking out two…Joseph went 4-for-5 and is now hitting .500 in his last four games after starting his Harrisburg tenure 0-for-10.

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