(PR) (Harrisburg, PA) – Bryce Harper’s one-out, two-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night gave the Harrisburg Senators (67-52) a 3-2 victory over the Trenton Thunder(59-59). In game one of the three-game set, the first overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft drove a 3-2 pitch from Thunder closer Ryan Pope over the batters eye in centerfield at Metro Bank Park. The loss is Trenton’s fourth in as many games in Harrisburg and the team’s eighth in ten games in the month of August.
The Senators struck first in the ballgame, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI-single from Tim Pahuta. However, the Thunder scored the game’s next two runs. Immediately, the Thunder answered with a run in the top of the fifth on an RBI-groundout by Austin Krum. Then, in the top of the seventh, Trenton took their first lead of the game on Addison Maruszak’s sacrifice fly.
Trenton was able to obtain a late lead despite scoring just two runs because of Dellin Betances’ dominant outing. In his season-high seven innings, the righty from Brooklyn allowed just one run on five hits with six punch-outs. Betances finished strong, facing the minimum in his final three frames. Betances was in line to win his fifth game of the season until one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Thunder closer Ryan Pope entered the decisive frame in search of his fifth save in his fifth try and his second save in as many nights. After getting Chris Rahl to line-out to centerfield to begin the ninth, Pope allowed a line drive single to left field off of the bat of Leonard Davis. Harper then came to the plate and took Pope to a 3-2 count. Pope hung a breaking ball and the top pick in last year’s draft deposited the ball over the batter’s eye in centerfield. It was Harper’s third career Double A homerun and his first walk-off homerun for the Senators.
The middle game of this three-game set will take place on Saturday night at 7:00 PM from Metro Bank Park in Harrisburg. The Thunder will give the start to RHP Craig Heyer (8-6, 3.92), while the Senators will counter with LHP Oliver Perez (3-2, 3.04). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR and online at trentonthunder.com. The SBLI Pre-Game show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:45 PM.