Early offense carries Fisher Cats
- Updated: April 28, 2019
READING, Pa. — Early offense helped the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) take down the Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies) 8-5 Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium to even the series at one game apiece.
The Fisher Cats plated three runs in the first inning to take a lead they never relinquished. With two men on and two outs, Santiago Espinal lined a single over the shortstop’s outstretched glove to make it 1-0 New Hampshire. Chad Spanberger followed with a ringing double into the right-field corner to score two more.
After Reading got one back in the bottom of the first, Forrest Wall‘s first home run of the season added two to the Fisher Cats’ advantage. His two-out blast put New Hampshire up 5-1.
Right-hander Andrew Sopko (W, 1-2) earned his first victory as a Fisher Cat with 5.2 innings in which he allowed three runs on four hits (two of which were solo home runs), struck out three and walked two.
The eventual winning run scored in the fourth. In that inning, Gunnar Heidt doubled to start things and moved to third on a Brock Lundquist single. Kacy Clemens brought in Heidt with an RBI groundout, and Vinny Capra added another run when his infield single scored Lundquist.
Leading 7-1, New Hampshire saw its lead dwindle to two runs after Reading scored four unanswered between the fourth and the eighth, but a ninth inning tally for the Fisher Cats padded their edge. Heidt singled to start the final frame of regulation then swiped second and third on the same play after third base went uncovered following his successful steal of second. Lundquist rapped the first Fisher Cats triple of the season to score Heidt and make it 8-5.
Bryan Baker (S, 1) pitched a perfect ninth to secure the win and earn his first career Double-A save.
- Jake Fishman tossed 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
- Capra, Heidt and Lundquist had two hits apiece.
The Fisher Cats and R-Phils go at it on Sunday in the series finale. Right-hander Patrick Murphywill go for New Hampshire while RHP Ramon Rosso is set to go for Reading. Coverage begins at 2:00 p.m. and continues with first pitch at 2:15 p.m. on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network.