Hartford Yard Goats: Late sacrifice fly secures Hartford’s series win

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Sam Hilliard #67 of the Colorado Rockies poses on photo day during MLB Spring Training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 22, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22: Sam Hilliard #67 of the Colorado Rockies poses on photo day during MLB Spring Training at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 22, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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HARRISBURG, PA. — On Wednesday morning, the Hartford Yard Goats and Harrisburg Senators met one more time to finish off their three-game series in Harrisburg. After a Hartford win on Monday and Harrisburg win on Tuesday, the series was tied at one apiece and Wednesday’s rubber match decided the series. Peter Lambert (1-1, 2.11 ERA) got the ball for the Yard Goats, while Wirkin Estevez (0-2, 5.23 ERA) received the nod for the Senators.

A strong combination of good pitching and good defense led the Yard Goats to success in the early innings at FNB Field on Wednesday morning. Starting pitcher Peter Lambert delivered six innings of scoreless baseball, but ran into some trouble in the seventh inning.

Lambert’s defense was able to aid him when he needed it the most. In the bottom of the first inning, he found himself in trouble after allowing a leadoff single to Daniel Johnson, who stole second and third base. However, Lambert got a ground ball off the bat of Yadiel Hernandez and second baseman Garrett Hampson threw out Johnson at home to keep the Senators off the scoreboard.

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Later, in the fourth inning, the Yard Goats were able to turn a slick 3-6-1 double play to erase a one-out single from Senators’ catcher Taylor Gushue. Lambert got in a groove starting in the fifth inning and retired six batters in a row, including four on strikeouts.

The seventh inning, however, spelled some trouble for Lambert. Hernandez lashed a leadoff homer to pull the Senators within one run. With his homer, Hernandez has now homered in the past four consecutive games, including all three games of the series against the Yard Goats.

A few batters later, Kelvin Gutierrez doubled down the left field line to tie the game up at 2-2. Lambert labored through the rest of the inning, but was able to hold the Senators to two runs and keep the game tied.

The offense struggled in the early stages of the game, but the Yard Goats were able to push across a two-out run in the second inning to get on the scoreboard. With two outs and nobody on, Omar Carrizales lined a single into left field and came home on a Chris Rabago RBI double to deep center field.

The bats finally came to life a little in the seventh inning as Sam Hilliard picked up a leadoff single to start the inning and Mylz Jones slashed a double to center field immediately after to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. A Bobby Wernes sacrifice fly plated the Yard Goats’ second run of the game, but they were unable to add any more in the frame.

A similar situation unfolded in the top of the ninth as Hilliard led off the inning with a double to center field, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt, and once again came home on a sacrifice fly from Wernes to give the Yard Goats a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Matt Pierpont was brought into the game in the eighth inning and delivered the last two innings for the Yard Goats. He allowed a single in the eighth inning, but shut the door on a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the 3-2 win for the Yard Goats and pick up the win in the process.

With the win, the Yard Goats now once again move back above .500 on the season with a 13-12 record. Hartford has had Harrisburg’s number in the first two series of the year against them, winning five of the six matchups.

Next: Recapping the good and bad from the Rockies in April

Hartford will now return home for a six-game homestand against the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox AA affiliate) and the Binghampton Rumble Ponies (New York Mets AA affiliate).

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