(HARTFORD, CT) - A seven-run sixth inning for the Yard Goats sunk the Fightins on Saturday night, as Reading dropped game three of the four-game set by a 9-4 final at Dunkin Donuts Park.
Despite the loss, Reading (36-27) (75-55) still carries a 4.5 game lead over Hartford in the Eastern Division, with only nine games remaining in the regular season.
Hartford (31-31) (68-61) grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second against Adonis Medina (6-7). Bret Boswell opened the inning with a grounder past the shortstop Nick Maton, and with Boswell running, Mylz Jones looped a single to left to put runners at the corners. Brian Serven hit a soft liner to second, and Medina picked off Jones for the second out.
After fouling off four-straight two-strike pitches, Carlos Herrera lined a double over first to score Boswell with the night's first run.
Hartford added on in the third, after a one-out single from Manny Melendez. Tyler Nevin followed with a double to left, scoring Melendez to make it 2-0.
After permitting a leadoff single to Luke Williams to start the ballgame, Yard Goats starter Antonio Santos (2-3) proceeded to retire 12 straight.
Cornelius Randolph brought it even in the fifth.
Josh Stephen lined a one-out single to right, and Randolph blasted a two-run home run to the second level beyond right, tying the game at two on his seventh long ball of the season.
Hartford broke it open in the bottom of the sixth. Colton Welker reached on an error on Maton, and with one out Jones doubled. Medina issued a walk to Brian Serven, and exited the ballgame with the bases loaded in favor of Jonathan Hennigan.
Hennigan induced a grounder toward the middle that resulted in an infield hit and an RBI for Herrera, giving Hartford the lead. Back-to-back bases-loaded walks to Vince Fernandez and Vance Vizcaino made it 5-2. Manny Melendez followed with a two-run double, lifting Hartford to a 7-2 lead. After Grant Dyer entered in relief, Nevin doubled in two more.
Reading managed to bring it closer in the seventh, when Stephen led off with a walk and Jose Gomez brought him in with a double to right-center. Gomez crossed the plate as well thanks to pair of wild pitches from Mitch Horacek, making it 9-4.
The Fightins and Yard Goats meet for the final time in 2019 on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Julian Garcia has the start against Matt Whitehouse, and the game will be broadcast on 610 ESPN and the Fightins Radio Network beginning with the Fightins Pregame Show at 12:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.