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Two-run homer in 11th inning leads Reading past Yard Goats

Hartford’s Nick Garcia pitched five strong innings in Tuesday night’s Eastern League loss to Reading in Hartford.

Ethan Wilson cranked a two-run homer in the 11th inning to lead the Reading Fightin Phils to a 6-4 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats in Eastern League play Tuesday night at Dunkin’ Park, snapping Hartford’s four-game winning streak.

The Yard Goats (11-9) erased a 4-0 deficit and tied the game with single runs in the fifth and sixth, and two runs in the eighth in the first of a six-game series.

Hartford starting pitcher Nick Garcia looked dominant early. His devastating curveball and effective changeup kept Reading hitters off balance. In his three innings of work, Garcia faced just ten batters, striking out half of them.

As for Reading’s starter Nick Nelson, who was making a rehab start for the Philadelphia Phillies after being placed on the 15-day injured list with a left hamstring strain, he was just as sharp. He struck out the first two Hartford batters he faced, and after three full innings, the game remained scoreless, as Nelson faced just 11 Yard Goats batters while striking out four of them.

Reading scored a pair of runs in the fourth inning on RBI singles by Ethan Wilson and Matthew Kroon to take a 2-0.

The Fightin Phils (7-14) kept the scoring going in the top of the fifth. Garcia hit Reading catcher Max McDowell to start the frame before giving up a two-run home run to Reading left fielder Garrett Whitley.

Then, in the bottom half of the inning, the Yard Goats manufactured a run. An infield single followed by a stolen base from Yard Goats’ right fielder Niko Decolati put a runner in scoring position for Hartford to begin the inning. The next batter, Yard Goats’ second baseman Eddie Diaz, drove in Decolati on an RBI single smoked into right field to put Hartford on the board.

Hartford’s Kyle Datres led off the sixth with a solo home run to make it a 4-2 game.  His homer to left was his first of the season since joining the team last week.

With the Yard Goats surging back, Reading continued to try and extend their lead, but Hartford’s bullpen dazzled. Right hander Will Ethridge relieved Garcia, going two innings while giving up just one hit. In the eighth inning, Yard Goats’ right hander Fineas Del Bonta-Smith provided his contribution by pitching an inning, allowing no baserunners, and striking out one Reading batter.

The Yards Goats fought all the way back in the bottom of the eighth inning to knot the game at four. Back-to-back singles from Restituyo and Datres to start the inning immediately put the Fightin Phils on their heels. The very next at-bat, Goodman roped an opposite field RBI double off the wall in right field to drive in Restituyo and put two men in scoring position with no one out. T

The next batter, Hartford first baseman Grant Lavigne, drew a walk to load the bases, and Yard Goats’ catcher Drew Romo followed Lavigne’s lead by working a walk right afterwards to bring home the tying run and keep the bases loaded with nobody out in the inning. However, the Yard Goats squandered this opportunity, as the next three Yard Goats’ batters would go down quietly to keep the score tied at 4-4.

Hartford’s Michael Peterson got the top of the ninth inning, and he displayed his dominance, striking out two batters in the frame and reaching 98 mph on the fastball. In the bottom half of the inning, the Yard Goats failed to score, sending the game into extra innings.

Reading 6, Hartford 4 (11)
At Hartford
Reading (7-14)   000  220  000  02  — 6-7-1
Hartford (11-9)  000  011  020  00  — 4-9-1
Nelson, Lindon (6), Zarbnisky (8), Schultz (8), Lehman (9), Kuhns (11) and McDowell; Garcia, Ethridge (6), Del Bonta Smith (8), Petersen (9), Kuzia (10) and Romo; WP: Lehman (2-0); LP: Kuzia (1-0); Save: Kuhns (3); 2B: Goodman (H), De La Cruz (R), HR: Datres (H), Whitney (R), Wilson (R)

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