RICHMOND, VA, April 27 – Outfielder Yonathan Daza put the Hartford Yard Goats in position to take the lead Friday night in the top of the ninth inning when he stole second base with two outs against the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Catcher Dom Nunez made it pay off. Nunez’s two-out single to right field drove in Daza and lifted the Yard Goats to a 5-4 Eastern League victory over Richmond Friday night in front of 8,265 fans at the Diamond.
Yard Goats closer Matt Pierpont had a perfect ninth inning, retiring all three batters he faced to pick up his seventh save of the season – the most of any reliever in the league.
The Yard Goats (11-9) have now won seven straight games and 11 of their last 14 games. With the win, Hartford moves into second place with Trenton – only 2½ games behind first place New Hampshire in the Eastern Division. The seven-game win streak is the longest in the Yard Goats’ brief three-year history.
Hartford leads the Eastern League with 32 in stolen bases. Tied at 4-4, Daza was able to swipe his third stolen base of the year. That set up Nunez for the game-winning hit. Nunez went 2-for-3 with two RBI. Daza was 2-for-5 at the plate with a first inning double – extending his personal hitting streak to six consecutive games.
The Yard Goats wasted little time getting on the scoreboard with two runs in the first inning. Daza doubled to left, moved to third on a ground out and scored on Sam Hilliard’s infield single. Following a Brian Mundle infield hit, the lefty hitting Nunez doubled off of left handed pitcher Garrett Williams to knock in Hilliard to give the Goats a 2-0 advantage.
Richmond made it 2-1 in the second inning against Hartford starter Peter Lambert on a double by Jonah Arenado and an RBI single by Dylan Davis. But Hartford built a temporary three-run cushion on Garrett Hampson’s home run, a two-run shot to left in the top of the sixth inning.
The Flying Squirrels got to Lambert for two runs in the sixth, before Mitch Horacek came on and got pinch hitter Al Castillo to ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning. Richmond tied it, 4-4, in the seventh, before Logan Cozart came on to throw a scoreless seventh inning and set the stage for the dramatic finish. Cozart’s relief work earned him the win – his second of the season.
NOTES: Sam Hillard added two hits and an RBI for Hartford while Garrett Hampson his first Double-A home run. … Hartford pitcher Peter Lambert doubled for the Yard Goats in the second inning. … Pitchers hit in the game since the contest was between two National League affiliates. The Yard Goats are Colorado’s Double A affiliate and the Flying Squirrels are the Double A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. … Game two of the three-game series is Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. with Sunday’s game at 1:05 p.m. … Richmond is currently in first place in the Western Division. … Hartford’s seven-game winning streak is the longest in the league this season. The 7-game win streak ties the longest in club history. The Goats won seven in a row last May from May 17-23.
Hartford 5, Richmond 4
Hartford (12-9) 200 002 001 — 5-10-2
Richmond (12-8) 010 002 100 — 4-10-2
Peter Lambert, Mitch Horacek (5), Logan Cozart (8), Matt Pierpont (9) and Dom Nunez; Garrett Williams, Jake McCasland (7), Tyler Cyr (9) and Aramis Garcia; WP: Cozart (2-1); LP: Cyr (0-1); Save: Pierpont (H) 7, BS: Horacek (H) 1; 2B: Jonah Arenardo (Ri), Aramis Garcia (Ri), Yonathan Daza (H), Nunez (H), Lambert (H); HR: Garrett Hampson (H)