HARTFORD- Colton Welker homered, doubled and knocked in four runs to pace Hartford to a 7-4 win over Binghamton Friday night, before a sellout crowd of 6,850 at Dunkin' Donuts Park, moving the club into first place. It's the first time Hartford has been in first place since May 14, 2016. Hartford has played to 16 sellout crowds in 28 home dates this season, drawing 158,401.
Playing as the "Steamed Cheeseburgers," Hartford climbed to a season-high 11-games over .500 at 35-24 and jumped into first place in the Eastern Division by 1/2 game over Trenton, which lost to Erie. Binghamton dropped into fourth place two games behind Hartford, while Reading moved into third one game out. Hartford has nine games remaining in the first half of the EL's split season.
After the Rumble Ponies tied the game 4-4 in the seventh on a home run into the right-field upper deck by Jason Krizan, the "Steamed Cheeseburgers" erupted for three runs in their half of the seventh against Milford, CT native Joe Zanghi, who was the losing pitcher. Bret Boswell began the rally with an infield hit. Chris Rabago followed with a single. Mylz Jones then ripped a run-scoring single to left to snap the tie. After a sacrifice bunt by Manny Melendez and a strike out, Welker knocked home two runs with a double to left-center past diving center-fielder Quinn Brodey. Hartford tacked on an eighth inning run on Nevin's RBI-hit.
The "Steamed Cheeseburger" took a 2-0 lead in the first on Welker's home run down the left-field line, his seventh of the year and third on the home stand. The Mets' affiliate bounced back with three in the second off of starter Brandon Gold on a two-run double by Luis Carpio and an infield-RBI hit by Krizan. Solo homers by Vance Vizcaino and Gold - his second homer of the year - gave Hartford the lead back in the last of the second.
Gold pitched six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five. Reliever Heath Holder picked up his fourth win (4-1), permitting one run in the seventh inning on two hits. Logan Cozart and Justin Lawrence each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the game.
Welker's homer, double and four RBI's, Nevin's two hits and RBI and two hits by Rabago paced Hartford's 12-hit attack.
Game two of the three-game series is Saturday night at 6:05. In a battle of left-handers, Ty Culbreth will pitch for Hartford and Anthony Kay for Binghamton, selected by the Mets in the first round of the 2016 draft out of UConn. The game will be broadcast on News Radio 1410 AM, on 100.9 FM, in Spanish on 1120 AM and on the Internet on newsradio1410.iheart.com and on MiLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.