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With season-high 13 hits and power from Hilliard, Yard Goats earn a win

Yard Goats catcher Dom Nunez was 2-for-3 with a double to lead Hartford to win over Portland on Wednesday night.

PORTLAND, April 18 – The Yard Goats were rude guests at the 25th anniversary party at Hadlock Field in Portland on Wednesday night.

Hartford (4-8) had a season-high 13 hits, scored a season-high nine runs and saw Sam Hilliard hit his fourth home run of the season and his second in two nights as the Yard Goats earned a 9-4 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in Eastern League action.

Portland, the Double A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, was celebrating their 25th anniversary of the first-ever home game at Hadlock Field back in 1994.

Yard Goats second baseman Garrett Hampson snapped a 4-4 tie with an RBI single in the seventh inning and gave Hartford some insurance runs with a two-run single in the eighth inning. The Yard Goats, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, won for the fourth time in the last six games.

Hartford took a 1-0 lead on Omar Carrizales’ RBI double to right centerfield in the first inning but Portland rebounded to take a 3-1 lead in the second when Jeremy Rivera ripped a three-RBI triple. The Sea Dogs loaded the bases with two singles and a walk off Yard Goats starting pitcher Jack Wynkoop.

Hartford’s Dom Nunez cut the lead to one, 3-2, with an RBI single in the fourth and Yonathan Daza’s RBI grounder tied the game 3-3 in the fifth.

Both clubs exchanged solo home runs in the fifth and sixth innings.  Jeremy Rivera belted a home run into the Maine Monster netting to give the Sea Dogs a 4-3 lead.  Then, Yard Goats DH Sam Hilliard cranked a 398-foot homer to right center, his second in two games, tying the contest at 4-4.

Hartford took a 5-4 lead on Garrett Hampson’s RBI single in the seventh inning off reliever Yankory Pimentel as Wes Rogers scored from second base.  The Yard Goats added two more runs in the eighth inning on a two-run single by Hampson and another two in the eighth on Bobby Wernes two-RBI double.

Five different Yard Goat players – Hilliar, Nunez, Wernes, Carrizales and Hampson – each had two hits in the game. Nunez was 2-for-3 with a double while Hampson was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Carrizales had a single and a double along with catcher Dom Nunez.

Hartford wraps up the series in Portland at noon on Thursday. The Yard Goats return home to Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. to take on the Harrisburg Senators.

NOTES: As part of the 25th anniversary celebration at Hadlock Field, the Sea Dogs unveiled their all-time team and an all-time opponents. The squad was selected with help from the Portland Press Herald. The All-Time teams were voted on by the fans, via seadogs.com and the Portland Press Herald.

Three players from New Britain were on the squad – catcher Joe Mauer (2003), first baseman David Ortiz (1997) and outfielder Torii Hunter (1996-98) along with left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner (2009), who played with the Connecticut Defenders, the Double A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. The Rock Cats played 25 years in New Britain before coming to Hartford to become the Yard Goats three years ago.

Hartford 9, Portland 4
At Portland
Hartford (4-8)                        010  111  122   — 9-13-0
Portland (4-7)                        030  001  000  — 4-8-2
Jack Wynkoop, Scott Griggs (6), Logan Cozart (8), Mitch Hornacek (9) and Dom Nunez; Kevin McAroy, Yankory Pimentel (7), Adam Lau (9) and Austin Rei; WP: Griggs (2-0); LP: Pimentel (0-1); H: Cozart (H) 3; 2B: Sam Hilliard (H), Dom Nunez (H), Bobby Werenes (H), Omar Carrizales (H); 3B: Jeremy Rivera(P) ; HR: Rivera (P), Hilliard (H); Att – 2,968

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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