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Yard Goats complete record-setting home campaign with a 1-0 victory

Yard Goats catcher Dom Nunez gets ready for a pitch in Friday night’s home finale against Binghamton. The Yard Goats prevailed, 1-0.

HARTFORD, August 30 – The Hartford Yard Goats made another sellout crowd at Dunkin’ Donuts Park wait a while before they could cheer but they did enough to win their final home game of the season with a 1-0 Eastern League victory on Thursday night.

Held hitless for 6 2/3 innings by Binghamton starting pitcher Nabil Crismatt, the Yard Goats scored an unearned run off in the eighth  Hartford (62-71) ended the season series against the Mets’ affiliate by winning 13 of the 18 games between the two teams and spliting the four-game series.

Hartford broke their own team record with 408,942 fans coming to Dunkin’ Donuts Park – a new record for Connecticut professional baseball franchises. The Yard Goats, the first pro baseball team to attract more than 400,000 fans in state history, broke their record of 395,196 set a year ago.

The Yard Goats had 47 sellouts, including 19 straight at one point of the season. The most fans that ever saw the New Britain Rock Cats play was 368,523 in 2010. The Yard Goats moved from New Britain to Hartford in 2016.

Hartford centerfielder Sam Hillard catches a fly ball and then avoids colliding with teammate Brian Mundell, left.

Crismatt had allowed four base runners on three walks and an error, until Hartford’s Sam Hilliard broke up the no-hitter with a two-out single in the seventh inning off the wall in right-center.

Hartford’s Drew Weeks started the winning rally in the eighth inning with a lead off single.  With one out, pinch hitter Omar Carrizales reached first on a throwing error by Binghamton shortstop Andrew Ely.  Second baseman Andres Gimenez then attempted to nail Weeks at third on the same play, but his throwing error enabled Weeks to score the game’s only run.

Hartford starting pitcher Rico Garcia pitched five innings and didn’t allow a run.

After Hartford’s starting pitcher Rico Garcia pitched five innings of three-hit baseball, relievers Brian Moran, Logan Cozart and Matt Pierpont retired 12 straight, including nine on strikeouts.

Cozart’s flawless eighth inning earned him his eighth victory (8-6), while Pierpont added to his franchise single season saves record with his 30th and finished off the staff’s eighth shutout of the year.

The game featured two emotional moments for the sellout crowd.

Hartford police officer Jill Kidik, who suffered a near-fatal stab would answering a call in May, was honored in the third inning and received a standing ovation.  After the game, the Yard Goats players and staff went on the field to thank the fans, evoking another ovation, with a reminder it’s just 32 weeks until the home opener in April 2019.

The Yard Goats are finishing out their third season in Hartford and second at Dunkin’ Donuts Park with a four-game series against New Hampshire, which won the Eastern Division title this year.


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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