Harrisburg uses the long ball and a career day from Khayyan Norfork to outlast the Sea Dogs

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The Senators held on for a wild 11-9 win over the Portland Sea Dogs on Sunday afternoon at FNB Field. They should be glad there is no such thing as style points when it comes to wins and losses, because in no way did it ever look pretty. But with the team mired in last place in the Western Division of the Eastern League, the Senators will take every victory they can.

“Ugly, ugly, and ugly,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “There were a couple of times today where our offense could have tacked on and today was definitely a day we needed all we could get. It was a wild and crazy game. We found a way to get the last out.”

It’s not ideal for the starting pitcher to walk the leadoff batter to start the game. It’s even less so when you walk the first three batters of the game like Senators’ starter Matthew Crownover did. But the 24-year-old southpaw, whose pitch count escalated so quickly that Derek Self started warming in the bullpen, limited the damage to two runs in the frame. Crownover allowed a solo homer in the second but settled down nicely after that posting zeroes in the third, fourth, and fifth innings while the Harrisburg offense responded to take the lead.

The Senators used the long ball early to overcome the Sea Dogs’ advantage as Khayyan Norfork put the Senators on the board with a two-run home run, his third of the season. Victor Robles and Corban Joseph followed in the next inning with back-to-back jacks to put the Senators on top. It was a lead they would never relinquish, although the outcome was in question until the final out settled in Robles’ glove.

Yadiel Hernandez picked up his teammates on two separate occasions as the right-fielder delivered two key two-out base hits to drive in three and give the Senators a sizable cushion. The 29-year-old Cuban garnered so much respect from the Sea Dogs that the next time he came to the plate with two outs and runners at second and third, they intentionally walked him to load the bases.

Norfork made them pay for it, however, as he cleared the bases with a double down the left field line. The extra-base hit capped a career day for the 28-year-old utility player who set a personal best with five runs driven in topping his previous best of four which he accomplished in his very first professional game over six years ago.

“He brings a great attitude every day,” LeCroy said. “I’m glad he’s doing well. Every year he has had to fight for a spot on a team. This year I think he has actually earned that spot.”

The Sea Dogs used three Senators’ errors to keep clawing back in the game to make things interesting. The tying runs were left stranded on second and third as Andrew Robinson induced the game-ending fly out for his fifth save of the season.

***

Hernandez finished 3-for-3 in the game to raise his batting average to .276 for the season…Crownover picked up his first Double-A win with the 5.1 inning outing…despite allowing an inherited runner to score, Dakota Bacus pitched well in his return to City Island as the right-hander worked 1.2 scoreless innings.

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