Senators hold off Altoona in 4-2 afternoon win

The Senators overcame an early deficit to take the rubber game in their three-game set with the Altoona Curve, 4-2. The afternoon matinee game drew 2,661 fans to FNB Field and pulled the Senators (6-6) back to .500.

Jose Osuna gave the Curve a 1-0 advantage with a line drive solo home run in the top of the first inning off Tyler Mapes, the Harrisburg starter. Mapes (3-0) settled down after that and delivered another solid outing for the Senators as the right-hander went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits.

“He’s faced that team before and he was way better this time which is a good sign,” manager Matt LeCroy said of Mapes. “He competes. He doesn’t shy away from contact. I like the way he hits and plays. He just has that grinder mentality.”

Harrisburg got on the board in the second inning as Adrian Sanchez hit a double off the base of the wall inches from the left field foul line to score Kevin Keyes and Brian Jeroloman. The Senators tacked on a run in the next frame as Wilmer Difo raced all the way around from first base when Keyes doubled to the deepest part of the park.

Altoona pulled back within a run as Reese McGuire singled through the right side of the infield with two outs in the sixth inning to score Anderson Feliz from third. But that was the closest as the Curve would get, as the Senators’ bullpen would shut them down the rest of the way.

Abel De Los Santos tossed a dominating 1-2-3 inning and LeCroy hopes that a sign of things to come. “He got some arm speed back. He’s pounding the strike zone and that change-up is nasty,” the skipper said.

“There was some stuff they worked on mechanically, but it’s a mindset. Believing that you can do it. Believeing that you can throw that ball in and throw the soft stuff when you need to.”

Bryan Harper posted 1.2 scoreless before giving way to Dakota Bacus who recorded the last out to pick up his first save of the season. “I’ve told all these guys from the get go that they are going to have a chance to finish games at the beginning of the season,” LeCroy said. “When Goody (Juan Gutierrez) is off, you need guys to fill in. Harp did an awesome job in the eighth inning against a huge part of the lineup.”

Stephen Perez and Keyes each garnered a pair of base hits as part of the 11-hit attack by the Senators and Brian Jeroloman drove in an insurance run in the seventh inning.

The Senators travel to Bowie for a 6:35 p.m. game on Thursday featuring Reynaldo Lopez on the bump for Harrisburg looking for his first Double-A win against Baysox starter David Hess.

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