Drew Ward grand slam goes for naught in loss to Rumble Ponies

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The Binghamton Rumble Ponies scored five runs in the seventh inning to overcome the Harrisburg Senators, 7-4, on Saturday night at FNB Field.

“That’s been our season,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “We get hits but we can’t hold it or we pitch well and can’t get the hits.”

Held scoreless through the first five innings by Binghamton starter Marcos Molina, the Senators finally broke through to take the lead. Three singles from Victor Robles, Jose Marmolejos, and Raudy Read loaded the bases as Harrisburg moved station-to-station to bring up Drew Ward. The third baseman delivered his first grand slam in his professional career, a towering shot that cleared the right field boardwalk, to give the Senators a 4-2 advantage.

The lead, however, was short lived as about 10 minutes later the Rumble Ponies rallied off Senators’ reliever Tim Collins for the deciding runs. Two walks, a single, and a double knotted the score up at four, but the big blow came when Luis Guillorme connected for a three-run opposite field home run, his first long ball of the season. Marmolejos got a glove on the homer as he leapt but couldn’t quite bring it back over the wall.

Harrisburg starter Matthew Crownover gave the Senators a chance as the southpaw allowed only two runs on six hits in six innings of work. Other than the top of the third when the Ponies plated two, Crownover faced only one batter over the minimum in every other inning.

“He finds a way,” LeCroy said. “He’s still a little up and they hit some balls good off of him. I can’t argue with him giving us a chance to win.”

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Ward registered his fifth multi-hit game in his last nine games and has raised his average 15 points during the stretch.

“He’s worked hard,” LeCroy said. “He’s just trying to find that good hitting position that gets him on the ball a little bit more. Obviously if you look at the numbers, he swings and misses way too much. It’s looking a lot shorter but he still has a ways to go. Hopefully he can finish up strong here down the stretch.”

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Robles, Ward, and Yadiel Hernandez were the only batters to reach base twice…Collins, who is making his way back from Tommy John surgery, became the shortest pitcher (at 5’7”) to play for the Senators in the modern era… Kyle Schepel and Ryan Brinley each worked an inning of scoreless relief.

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