HARTFORD, June 22 – This weekend, the Hartford Yard Goats are finding Dunkin’ Donuts Park a comfortable place to play and hit home runs.
For the second straight game, the Yard Goats hit three home runs and that powered Hartford to a 7-3 Eastern League victory over the Altoona Curve Saturday night before a capacity crowd of 6,850. Brian Serven, Brett Boswell and Alan Trejo hit home runs for the Yard Goats, who lead the Eastern League with 63 home runs.
The Yard Goats also welcome their one millionth fan to Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Chris Bruff was honored as he entered the ballpark with his family. He will receive free Dunkin’ for a year and was given a Yard Goats jersey and cap. In 2½ seasons, the Yard Goats have drawn 1,006,002 fans with 109 sellouts. This year, Hartford has sold out 21 of 35 contests.
Down by a run, Hartford (39-32, 2-2 second half) took the lead on centerfielder Bret Boswell’s three-run home run into the upper deck in right field in the third inning. Hartford’s Tyler Nevin started the rally with a two-out rally and was followed by Mylz Jones, who reached base on an error by Altoona first baseman Jerrick Suiter.
It was Boswell’s fourth home run in the last 11 games for the Yard Goats. He has hit seven HRs this season.
Altoona rallied against Hartford reliever Mitch Horacek in the seventh inning, when Mitchell Tolman was hit by a pitch and Chris Sharpe homered to left-center to tie the game, 3-3.
But the Yard Goats bounced back in the bottom of the seventh against Rubber Ducks reliever Austin Coley.
Hartford catcher Brian Serven opened the frame with a home run to left. Teamate Carlos Herrera followed with a triple and scored on a Manny Melendez single. Melendez later scored on a sacrifice fly by Colton Welker for a 6-3 lead.
Hartford tacked on a run in the eighth inning with Trejo’s 11th home run of the season.
Pitcher Matt Dennis started for the Yard Goats in his Double-A debut. He pitched four innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked one and struck out three. Horacek was the winning pitcher for the second straight night.
Pedro Vasquez started for Altoona, the Double A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and pitched six innings. He allowed four hits and three runs, all unearned. He walked one and struck out seven.
In addition to homers by Boswell, Serven and Trejo, Herrera had a triple, double and run scored to lead Hartford’s eight-hit attack. Jerrick Suiter’s double and single and Sharpe’s homer paced Altoona’s nine-hit night.
The final game of the three-game series and the end of the home stand is Sunday at 1:05 p.m.