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Yard Goats rally in seventh inning to earn a split with New Hampshire

Hartford reliever Matt Pierpont got his Eastern League-leading 14th save on Saturday night in New Hampshire.

MANCHESTER, N.H., May 26 – Despite an unassisted double play, the Hartford Yard Goats scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to take the lead and beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in game one of an Eastern League doubleheader Saturday night, 5-3.

New Hampshire, which leads the Eastern League’s Eastern Division, won the nightcap, 4-1.

In the opener, Hartford (26-23) trailed by two runs going into the seventh inning. Doubleheaders in the minor leagues are just seven innings long.

Hartford loaded the bases thanks to a lead-off double from Brian Mundell, walk and an error. With no outs, Hartford’s Nelson Molina pulled a line drive that New Hampshire first baseman Juan Kelly caught and quickly tagged out the runner at first base for an unassisted double play.

With two outs, the Fisher Cats chose to pitch to Hartford catcher Chris Rabago, who ripped a 2-2 double in left field, driving in two runs and giving the Yard Goats a 4-3 lead. Omar Carrizales followed with an RBI single to extend the lead to two runs, 5-3.

Yard Goats reliever Matt Pierpont pitched the seventh inning for his Eastern League leading 14th save. He gave up a single to Gunnar Heidt, who moved to second on a wild pitch. But Pierpont bore down and got the final two New Hampshire batters to ground out to shortstop Brendan Rodgers and pop out to the second baseman.

Yard Goats starting pitcher Ryan Castellani (3-2) picked up the win with six innings of work, allowing three runs on six hits. He walked four and struck out one. Yonathan Daza hit a two-run home run for the Yard Goats in the third inning.

In the second game, New Hampshire (29-18) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of game two, against Hartford starter Craig Schlitter of Guilford.  An RBI-single by Cavan Biggio and sacrifice fly by Andrew Guillotte scored the runs.

Hartford cut the lead in half in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Carrizales, but New Hampshire put the game away in the third inning, when New Hamphire’s Juan Kelly blasted this second two-run home run of the twin bill and his third of the season against the Yard Goats.

Schlitter, who suffered the loss, pitched three innings and allowed four runs on five hits.  He walked two and struck out three.  Mundell had two hits for the Goats, who close out the series Sunday against the Cats.

Hartford returns to home to face Harrisburg on Tuesday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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