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Pair of three-run home runs lift Yard Goats past Portland

Hartford’s Warming Bernabel hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning Saturday against Portland.

Nic Kent’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Hartford Yard Goats to a 6-4 walk-off victory over the Portland Sea Dogs Saturday night in front of sellout crowd of 7,532 at Dunkin’ Park in Hartford.

Kent came to the plate with the Goats trailing by one run, 4-3, and with one out and two runners on base. After being held scoreless through six innings, Hartford (11-7) scored six runs in the final three innings thanks to a pair of big home runs for their first walk-off win of the Eastern League season.

Trailing 4-0 after six innings, Hartford’s Warming Bernabel hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to cut the Sea Dog’s lead to one run.

Yard Goats relievers Seth Halvorsen and Bryce McGowan combined to pitch four scoreless innings while racking up seven strikeouts. The Yard Goats, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, moved into a tie with the Sea Dogs (11-7) atop the Eastern League’s Northeast Division.

The Sea Dogs got off to a fast start in the first inning. Marcelo Mayer reached on a fielder’s choice and Kyle Teel worked a walk. After a wild pitch from Yard Goats starter Andrew Quezada advanced the runners, Blaze Jordan drove in Marcelo Mayer with a sacrifice fly to give the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead. Kyle Teel scored from third base on a wild pitch from Quezada to put the Sea Dogs up 2-0.

The Sea Dogs, the Double A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, added a run in the third inning as a Mayer infield single drove home Alex Binelas to make the score 3-0.

Matthew Lugo hit a solo home run to center field in the fifth inning to push the Sea Dogs lead to 4-0.

In the seventh inning Sea Dogs reliever Christopher Troye entered the game and walked Zac Veen and Kokoska to lead off the inning. Warming Bernabel stepped to the plate and delivered a three-run home run to bring the score to 4-3.

In the bottom of the ninth the Yard Goats capped off their comeback effort. Bernabel worked a leadoff walk off Sea Dogs closer Felix Cepeda. Following a Palma strikeout, pinch hitter Yanquiel Fernandez was intentionally walked. Kent then won the game for the Yard Goats with his second home run of the season.

The six-game series concludes with Sunday’s game beginning at 1:10 p.m. at Dunkin’ Park.

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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