Hartford Yard Goats pitcher Jack Wynkoop has been waiting for this day a long time. Wynkoop, the 6-foot-5 lefthander, hurt his hip last July and missed the final two months of the Eastern League season.
For the second year in a row, Wynkoop got the ball on opening day for the Yard Goats as Hartford was in Richmond Thursday to face the Flying Squirrels.
“I worked hard to get back and I feel really good,” he said earlier this week in Hartford. “I like where I am right now and can’t wait to get out there and compete.”
Wynkoop gave up just one run on four hits against the San Francisco Giants’ Double A affiliate but it was enough as host Richmond beat Hartford, 1-0, before a sellout crowd of 9,845 fans at The Diamond – the largest single-game crowd in team history.
Richmond scored the only run of the game in the fifth inning off Wynkoop. Richmond’s Dylan Davis, batting for the pitcher, cracked a pinch-hit double down the left field line. Johneshwy Fargas followed with a single and Richmond had runners at the corners and nobody out. Jalen Miller then hit into a double play and Davis scored giving Richmond a 1-0 lead.
Wynkoop struck out five and walked three in his five innings of work. A year ago, he was the losing pitcher in the season opening loss to New Hampshire. He is the first Yard Goat hurler to pitch twice on opening day and this is the beginning of third season in Hartford.
Richmond starter Logan Webb and three relievers held the Yard Goats scoreless as Hartford fell to 1-3 on opening day.
The Yard Goats squandered some opportunities to score, including the bases loaded in the first inning. Webb limited the Yard Goats to just two singles but he did walk five batters.
The Yard Goats had runners on base in each of the first six innings but could not push across a run. Another good chance came in the eighth inning when the visitors had runners at first and second and one out. However, a double play ended that threat.
Hartford got a leadoff pinch hit single by Willie Abreu in the ninth inning and Chris Rabago bunted him to second base. Sam Wolff then threw a wild pitch allowing Abreu to take third base. But, the righty reliever stuck out the final two batters to earn the save.
Three Yard Goats pitchers combined to strike out 11 Richmond batters. Logan Cozartz struck out four in two innings of work while Ben Bowden fanned two in the ninth inning.
The Yard Goats continue the four game series against Flying Squirrels on Friday night (7:05 PM). The game will be broadcast on AM 1410 WPOP and 100.9 FM and streamed on newsradio.1410.com and MiLB.com.
Hartford plays their home opener on Thursday, April 11 against New Hampshire. After four games in Richmond, the Yard Goats will play three games in Harrisburg before coming home to Duncan Donuts Park.
GAME LOCATION: Richmond, Va.
Date: April 4, 2019