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Goodman’s two-run homer in ninth inning wins it for Yard Goats

Hunter Goodman’s two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Yard Goats to a 5-4 win over Reading on Thursday night.

HARTFORD, May 4, 2023 — First baseman Hunter Goodman continued his hot streak, and smashed a walk off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning leading the Hartford Yard Goats past the Reading Fightin Phils 5-4 in Eastern League baseball on Thursday night at Dunkin’ Park.

Coming into the game leading the Eastern League in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases, Goodman added to his totals, finishing the night 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI.

Trailing by one run, Hartford’s Grant Lavigne led off the bottom of the ninth inning by reaching on a walk. Goodman ended the game with a hard hit ball to to deep left field for a two-run walk off home run, sending the crowd of 5,054 fans home happy.

Yard Goats’ starting pitcher Mike Ruff had an impressive game himself, producing a quality start by throwing 6.1 innings and striking out eight while allowing just three runs on seven hits.

Carlos De La Cruz gave Reading (8-15) an early lead thanks to a solo shot to deep left field in the top of the first inning. The next batter, Johan Rojas, drew a walk and was immediately rewarded, as Ethan Wilson stroked an RBI double to the alley in left center field. By the end of the first inning, the Fightin Phils had a 2-0 advantage.

Reading expanded their lead in the second frame. Back-to-back singles from Max McDowell and Wendell Rojo put two men on base with only one man out for leadoff hitter Madison Stokes, who lined a ball to center for an RBI double. Ruff buckled down and retired the next two Fightin Phils batters, as Reading stranded two men in scoring position but took a 3-0 lead.

The Yard Goats (12-10) responded in the bottom of the second inning. In his first plate appearance since being reactivated from the injured list, Zac Veen cranked a double to left field. Two batters later, Colin Simpson drove Veen home on an RBI single to put Hartford on the board and cut the Fightin Phils’ lead to 3-1.

Hartford knotted the game up at three in the bottom half of the third inning. Restituyo, with one out in the inning, extended his hitting streak to 11 games on an infield single to the left side. The next batter, Kyle Datres, connected on his second home run of the year, roping the ball towards the right field foul pole for a two-run blast.

The score stayed tied at three for the next four innings, but in the top of the eighth inning, Reading regained the lead. Rojas pulled a single into left field to lead off the inning before stealing second base and advancing to third on an error. Wilson would drive him in on a wall ball single to right field, giving Reading a 4-3 advantage.

Hartford 5, Reading 4
At Hartford
Reading (8-15)            210  000  010  — 4-10-0
Hartford (12-10)         012  000  002  — 5-8-1
Phillips, Schultz (7), Killgore (8), Kuhns (9) and McDowell; Ruff, Goldsberg (7), Darnell (8) and Palma; WP: Darnell (2-1); LP: Kuhns (0-2);  2B: Veen (H), Goodman (H), Wilson (R), Stokes (R); HR: De La Cruz (R), Goodman (H), Datres (H)

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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