HARTFORD, June 17 – Pinch hitter Ryan Metzler singled off the right field wall in the eleventh inning to enable the Hartford Yard Goats to send another sellout crowd at Dunkin’ Donuts Park happy after a 4-3 Eastern League victory over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies Sunday.
Metzler’s single off hard-throwing reliever Tyler Bashlor drove in Mylz Jones from third base in front of a capacity crowd of 6,850 fans, including two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, who is in town to play in this week’s Travelers Championship golf tournament in Cromwell. Bashlor is on the New York Mets’ 40-man roster.
In extra innings, runners begin the inning at second base in order to help reduce extra innings and pressure on the pitching staffs. It’s a new rule this year in minor league baseball.
Jones moved to third base on an infield ground ball from teammate Nelson Modina and scored on Metzler’s game-winning hit.
The win gives Hartford (33-35) a sweep of the three-game series with the Rumble Ponies, the Double A affiliate of the New York Mets and moves the Yard Goats within one game of third place Binghamton (34-34).
Hartford jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on an error and an RBI-single by catcher Chris Rabago. Binghamton tied it in the third inning on a two-run home run by Jhoan Urena, before both starters, Jack Wynkoop and Mickey Janis settled down.
Wynkoop allowed eight hits but lasted six innings. He struck out three.
Binghamton took a one-run lead in the seventh inning. Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow opened the inning with a pinch-hit ground rule double. Following a walk and a sacrifice bunt, Kevin Taylor’s sacrifice fly made it 3-2.
But the Goats came back in their half of the seventh on an RBI-double by Brendan Rodgers, his third hit of the game. Rodgers had two doubles a single and an RBI to pace Hartford’s 12-hit attack. Nelson Molina and Jones each collected two hits for the Yard Goats.
It was the fourth straight weekend sellout at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the 20th sellout of the year and the 18th sellout in the last 25 home games. It also marked the second straight weekend Hartford has hosted three straight capacity crowds.
The Yard Goats hit the road for two series at Akron and Binghamton before returning to Hartford on June 25 for a four-game series with Richmond.