HARTFORD, August 26 – Hartford Yard Goats pitcher Matt Dennis continues to impress as the Eastern League campaign enters its final weeks.
The right-handed pitcher went eight innings and gave up just one run as Hartford beat the Harrisburg Senators, 5-1, before another sellout crowd of 6,623 at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Dennis scattered seven hits and struck out five.
Reading’s victory over Bowie clinched a spot in the Eastern League playoffs, eliminating the Yard Goats (32-32 second half). Hartford did set a new franchise record with their 48th sellout of the season. With three home dates remaining, the Yard Goats have drawn 395,610 fans, which is No. 1 in the EL and has broken the franchise record set a year ago.
Dennis (5-3) retired the first six batters he faced against the first-half Western Division champions, before pitching out of a first-and-third no-out jam in the third.
Colorado’s 14th round 2016 draft choice, also pitched out of jams the next three innings, before giving up doubles to Luis Garcia and Ian Sagdal in the eighth inning for Harrisburg’s only run. Scott Griggs pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Hartford wasted little time giving Dennis support, when Hartford’s Manny Melendez unloaded his sixth home run of the season into the upper deck against Harrisburg hurler Tyler Mapes. The Yard Goats made it 3-0 in the third on an RBI-ground out by Melendez and Tyler Nevin’s run-scoring single.
The Yard Goat chased Mapes with a two-out rally in the fifth. Hartford’s Vance Vizcaino started things with a double, stole third and scored on a Melendez single. A single by Nevin, RBI-hit by Colton Welker and a walk to Bret Boswell sent the right-hander to the showers.
Melendez had a home run, single and three RBI to lead Hartford’s 10-hit attack. Nevin added a double, single and RBI, while Vizcaino had a single, double, his 29th stolen base and two runs scored.
Hartford has won five of 13 games against Harrisburg (29-32) this season.
The five-game series continues Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. with a doubleheader. A pair of right-handers will pitch for the Yard Goats, Heath Holder and Ashton Goudeau. Mario Sanchez will start the first game for Harrisburg. The second game starter is TBA.