HARTFORD, April 22 – It was an exciting weekend for the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium.
On Saturday night, Yard Goats closer Matt Pierpont struck out Harrisburg’s Jacob Wilson, the team’s leading home run hitter, with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning to secure a 5-1 Eastern League victory.
On Sunday afternoon, Hartford rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to beat the visiting Harrisburg Senators, 11-9 for the Yard Goats’ most dramatic comeback of the 2018 season thus far in front of a sun-splashed sellout crowd of 6,327.
The Yard Goats (7-9) have now won seven of their last 10 games and swept the three-game series with the Senators – the first series sweep by Hartford since last July.
Three times, Hartford trailed by three or more runs on Sunday but they kept coming back. The Yard Goats had a season-high 16 hits and a season-high nine runs.
Third baseman Brendan Rodgers became the second Yard Goat in the team’s brief three-year history to have five hits in a single game. Rodgers was 5-for-5 with a double, a two-run home run, three singles and three RBI. Yonathan Daza had three hits while Garrett Hampson was 2-for-6 with a double.
With the Yard Goats trailed by two runs, 9-7, Daza opened the eighth inning with an infield hit to second base. He scored on Rodgers’ double – his fifth of the season. Rodgers is the No. 1 ranked prospect in the Colorado Rockies’ farm system.
Pinch hitting for the pitcher, Bobby Wernes blasted a RBI triple just inside the first base bag and down the right field corner. That allowed Rodgers to score and tie the game at 9-9. Wernes scored on a RBI single from Omar Carrizales and later scored on a RBI double from Ryan Metzler for an 11-9 lead.
Scott Griggs pitched a scoreless ninth inning with three up and three down to earn his first save and give Hartford the victory. Marc Magliaro pitched two innings of scoreless relief to earn his first Double A victory. He gave up just one hit and fanned two in two innings.
For Harrisburg (6-9), Yadiel Hernandez had three hits, including a home run and five RBI. Daniel Johnson added a home run, among his three hits for the Washington Nationals affiliate.
On Saturday, Hartford starting pitcher Peter Lambert was outstanding as he earned his first Double A victory. Lambert, Colorado’s second round draft pick in 2015, scattered six hits in seven scoreless innings of work. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out a season-high eight batters.
Hartford took a 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a RBI single from Rodgers and Brian Mundell’s RBI ground ball. With a runner on base, catcher Dom Nunez hit his first home run of the year in the fourth inning, pulling a pitch into the upper deck in right field to give Hartford a 4-0 lead.
Outfielder Omar Carrizales made franchise history in the seventh inning with the first pinch hit home run in Yard Goats’ history for a 5-0 lead. The left handed hitter pulled a pitch into the upper deck down the right field line off of southpaw reliever Ismael Guillon, who had struck out the previous three batters.
Harrisburg scored a run in the eighth inning on a throwing error – the first error for the Yard Goats in seven games. With the bases loaded, reliever Logan Cozart came on in relief for Hartford and got Harrisburg’s Kelvin Gutierrez to fly out to right field, the ball sending outfielder Sam Hilliard back to the warning track.
In the ninth inning, Pierpont had the bases loaded with two outs but he struck out Wilson to earn his league-leading fifth save.
Hartford returns to action on Monday when they begin a three-game series with the Portland Sea Dogs, the Boston Red Sox’s Double A affiliate, at 7:05 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
Hartford 11, Harrisburg 9
Harrisburg (6-9) 310 302 000 — 9-9-2
Hartford (7-9) 030 301 04x — 11-16-0
Brady Dragmire, Austin Williams (5), Kaleb Fleck (7), Bryant Harper (8) and Jake Lowrey; Parker French, Craig Schlitter (4), Mitch Horacek (5), Marc Magliaro (7), Scott Griggs (9) and Dom Nunez; WP: Magliaro (1-0); LP: Fleck (1-3); S: Griggs (1), BS: Fleck (3); 2B: Daniel Johnson (Harris), Garrett Hampson (Hart), Brendan Rodgers (Hart), Ryan Metzler (Hart); HR: Rodgers, Johnson