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With three home runs, Yard Goats finish the season with another victory

Sam Hilliard hit his ninth home run of the season to help the Yard Goats finish the Eastern League campaign with a win over New Hampshire.

MANCHESTER, N.H., Sept. 3 – The Hartford Yard Goats ended the 2018 season with a blast — three blasts to be more accurate.

The Yard Goats hit three home runs to beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 5-3, in Eastern League action Monday afternoon at Delta Dental Stadium. The win clinched third place for Hartford (65-72).

Sam Hilliard, Roberto Ramos and Omar Carrizales each hit home runs for the Yard Goats, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. For Ramos, it was his 15th home run since joining the Yard Goats in June and his 32nd home run of the year. He hit 17 home runs with Single A Lancaster in the California League.

Hartford pitcher Jesus Tinoco (9-12) registered eight strikeouts in five innings and tied a franchise record with his ninth win as the Yard Goats won five of their final six games of the season. The hard throwing righty struck out the side in the fourth inning. Tinoco struck out a team-leading 132 batters this season in 26 appearances.

Closer Matt Pierpont converted on his 32nd save, which led the Eastern League and is the most saves in a single season in Hartford’s three-year history. He retired three of the four batters he faced. With three victories in New Hampshire, the Yard Goats finished the season in third place with a record of 65-72.

The Fisher Cats scored the first run of the game as New Hampshire’s Jon Berti led off the first inning with a solo home run off Tinoco.  It was Berti’s eighth home run of the season.

The Yard Goats tied the game in the third inning as Hilliard cranked a solo home run off the right field videoboard, his ninth homer of the season. Hilliard finished the season with 40 RBI, second on the Yard Goats.

Later that inning, Ramos connected on a two run homer giving the Yard Goats a 3-1 lead.

The Yard Goats added to their lead on another home run in the sixth inning as Omar Carrizales smashed a two-run homer of the right field fence to make it 5-1 Hartford.

The Fisher Cats got single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pull within two at 5-3 before Pierpont shut the door for Hartford.

The Yard Goats won three of four games in New Hampshire – a worthy accomplishment considering that the Fisher Cats won 16 of the first 18 games the two teams played this season.

Hartford helped deny New Hampshire (76-62), the Double A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Eastern Division championship. The Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees) went 9-1 in the final 10 games of the season to overtake the Fisher Cats and win the Eastern Division title.

Trenton (79-61) will face New Hampshire in a best-of-5 series for the Eastern Division title beginning on Wednesday while Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates) and the Akron Rubber Ducks (Cleveland Indians) will play for the Western Division title.

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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