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Yard Goats pick up crucial win over Erie to remain in hunt for playoff spot

Hartford’s Tyler Nevin had his second triple of the season as the Yard Goats snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over Erie on Friday.

ERIE, Pa., June 14 – With their backs to the wall, the Hartford Yard Goats came up with a win to stay in the hunt for an Eastern League playoff berth.

After losing three straight games, Yard Goats reliever Ben Bowden earned his Eastern League-leading 20th save as Hartford beat Erie Seawolves, 5-3 on Friday night before 4,885 fans at UPMC Park.

Bowden got Erie’s Frank Schwindel to line out to left field with the tying runs on base in the ninth inning. Bowden, who is 20-for-20 in save opportunities this year, gave up a pair of one-out walks but struck out Kade Scivicque for the second out and got Schwindel for the save.

The win moves Hartford (36-28) within a half-game of first place Trenton (36-26) and Reading (37-27) with three games left in the first half of the 2019 campaign. The Eastern League is splitting the season into two and the leader in the Eastern Division at the midway point of the season secures a berth in September’s EL playoffs. The first half ends Tuesday night.

Three consecutive wins by Hartford and one loss each by Reading and Trenton would give the Yard Goats a playoff berth along with two Hartford wins and two losses each by Reading and Trenton.

Ace pitcher Rico Garcia, who is 8-1 on the year, is scheduled to pitch Saturday night for Hartford against Erie.

The Yard Goats went ahead to stay in the third inning with three runs off of Erie starting pitcher Matt Manning.  With runners on second and third base, Hartford scored the tying run on a ground out by Manny Melendez followed by an RBI-triple by Tyler Nevin and sacrifice foul-fly by Colton Welker.

Hartford tacked on single runs in the fourth and sixth on run-scoring singles by Brian Serven and Vance Vizcaino.  Schwindel, who began the season with the Royals, homered in the eighth to set up the ninth inning drama.

Hartford reliever Alexander Guillen picked up the win, pitching 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.  He allowed one hit and struck out three. Serven had two hits an RBI and run scored to pace the Hartford attack.

Josh Lester had a home run and two hits and Kade Scivicque had two hits for Erie, which left 10 men on base.

Boxscore: Hartford 5, Erie 3

Eastern League standings

Eastern Division W L Pct. GB
Trenton 36 26 .581
Reading 37 27 .578
Hartford 36 28 .563 1
Binghamton 33 28 .550

Friday’s results
Bowie 3, Trenton 0
Reading 3, Harrisburg 2
Altoona 6, Binghamton 2
Hartford 5, Erie 3
Saturday’s games
Reading at Harrisburg
Altoona at Binghamton
Hartford at Erie
Trenton at Bowie
Sunday’s games
Reading at Harrisburg
Altoona at Binghamton
Hartford at Erie
Trenton at Bowie
Tuesday’s games
Binghamton at New Hampshire
Richmond at Trenton
Bowie at Hartford
Altoona at Reading
(First half of season complete)

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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