BOWIE, Md. - Eerily similar to Monday’s matchup against Bowie’s Zach Britton, Baysox left-hander Mike Ballard was cruising along until Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper ignited a game-changing rally in the seventh inning.
Harper crushed his first home run in Double-A, a solo shot to deep right-center field, leading Double-A Harrisburg to a 6-3 victory over the Bowie Baysox before 3,763 at Prince George’s stadium.
The home run Wednesday marked the fourth extra base hit in the past four games for Harper, who finished 3-for-4 with two singles, home run, stolen base, run and an RBI.
Harrisburg Senators manager Tony Beasley said he has seen Harper hit some at Metro Bank Park like the ball that carried over the fence Wednesday in Bowie.
“Actually, he hit some balls at home that probably were home runs in other ball parks,” Beasley said. “Our center field plays really, really big. It was good to see him get one today. His first one here. It was probably a boost of confidence to get three hits today. He did some good things. It was really good to see.”
Harper has raised his average to .250 (16-for-64). The homer came on an 0-2 fastball off of the University of Virginia’s Ballard, who finished 6 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, three runs, two earned, with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Beasley said Harper has been getting on a roll at the plate and now he has results to show for his effort.
“His batting average is not indicative of how he has played,” Beasley said. “He has hit a ton of balls hard. He hasn’t been over-matched here. He has done a nice job. We let him continue to play. We try to keep him short to the ball and let him do what he does.”
Tim Pahuta followed Harper with a solo homer for back-to-back round trippers, the second time in the series the Senators had accomplished the feat. Bill Rhinehart and Tyler Moore pulled off the honor in Monday’s 13-2 Senators’ win.
Devin Ivany slammed a three-run shot in the ninth inning to extend the Harrisburg lead to 6-1.
Senators’ left-hander Oliver Perez struggled with control, issuing five walks, but got out of trouble a few times and lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing only a solo shot on six hits with three strikeouts.
Harper slapped a pair of doubles off of Britton in the fifth inning on Monday, highlighting a season-best eight-run outburst for Harrisburg.