July 17, 2017 - Eastern League (EL) - Hartford Yard Goats
Hartford, CT- On a weekend when the Whalers were saluted at Dunkin' Donuts Park, the Hartford Yard Goats pulled off a hat trick of their own, taking three of four games from the first place Trenton Thunder, following a thrilling 5-4 win, Sunday afternoon, before 6,831 fans, the 20th home sellout of the season. It was the fifth straight Sunday sellout, fifth straight weekend sellout and the second biggest Sunday crowd of the season, topped only by the July 2 crowd of 6,850. On the weekends this year, the Yard Goats are playing to 98.6 percent of capacity.
With the tying run on third base, Yard Goats closer Shane Broyles enticed Tito Polo to ground out to shortstop Anthony Phillips on a bang-bang play at first base. It was Broyles' 13th save and preserved starter Ryan Castellani's seventh win of the season. Once again, the Hartford bullpen did a superb job, as Matt Pierpont preceded Broyles by throwing three scoreless, hit less innings. In all, the Hartford bullpen shutout the league's highest scoring club for 15.1 consecutive innings, over the final three games of the set.
Brendan Rodgers, who slugged two home runs, including a walk-off homer in Saturday night's game, belted another home run in the second inning of Sunday's game, and it turned out to be the difference.
As they did on Saturday, when they scored four runs in the first inning, the Yard Goats sent 10 men to the plate in the first inning on Sunday, scoring four runs. An RBI-infield hit by Brian Mundell, a run-scoring single by Jan Vazquez and bases loaded walks to Dillon Thomas and Anthony Phillips gave the Goats the early lead. Trenton came back with three runs in the second on a Billy Fleming home run - his third of the series - and Vince Conde's two-run double. Zach Zehner's RBI-single in the fifth made it a one-run game, setting up the finish for the efficient Hartford pen.
Seven Hartford players each had a hit, led by the Rodgers homer. Castellani pitched five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out five. Fleming, Rashad Crawford and Jorge Mateo each had three hits for the Yankees' affiliate.
The Yard Goats host the Bowie Baysox in a three-game series, starting Monday night at 7:05 p.m. at Dunkin' Donuts Park. Righthander Yency Almonte will start for Hartford against righthander Lucas Long for the Orioles affiliate. The game can be heard on AM 1410 WPOP and on iHeart Radio.