New Hampshire Hardball

Fisher Cats falter late

MANCHESTER – Santiago Espinal doubled twice and drove in three runs, but the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays Double-A affiliate) lost to the first-place Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) 9-8 on Sunday afternoon at Delta Dental Stadium.


The Fightin Phils (24-16, 63-44) erased a two-run deficit with three runs in the top of the ninth inning to win the final meeting of the season between the Eastern Division rivals. Reading won the season series 11-10.

New Hampshire (15-24, 46-60) won the weekend series with Reading, taking three of the five games. The Fisher Cats were on the verge of an impressive come-from-behind win after scoring three times in the bottom of the eighth inning for an 8-6 lead.

With New Hampshire trailing 6-5, Kevin Smith doubled and scored on a two-bagger by Riley Adams Brock Lundquist singled Adams to third, and when Forrest Wall beat out a bunt single, New Hampshire had a 7-6 lead. An Espinal double drove in Lundquist for another run.

After an RBI groundout, Reading’s Darick Hall homered in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 8-8, and the Phils won it on a triple by Josh Stephen and a single by Austin BossartAaron Brown (5-4) earned the win and Addison Russ (S, 17) converted the save opportunity. Jackson McClelland (L, 0-2) took the loss.

The Fisher Cats scored first in the bottom of the opening inning. Wall walked and advanced to second on a groundout. A double into the left field corner by Nash Knight made it 1-0.

Reading put together three doubles for a pair of runs in the top of the second inning for a 2-1 lead, but the Fisher Cats came right back to regain a 3-2 edge in the bottom of the third inning. Wall singled and scored on a double by Espinal. After Chad Spanberger singled, Smith drove in another run with a base hit.

Reading tied the game in the fourth inning on a home run by catcher Henri Lartigue, then took a 6-3 lead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Mickey Moniak and a run-scoring passed ball.

Reading relievers walked four in the bottom of the seventh inning, allowing the Fisher Cats to score a pair of runs on sacrifice flies by Espinal and Vinny Capra to cut the lead to 6-5.

Yennsy Diaz started for the Fisher Cats, allowing six runs in his 4.2 innings. Dany Jimenezfollowed with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Danny Young added a scoreless inning for New Hampshire.

After a scheduled day off on Monday, the Fisher Cats start a six-game road trip in Akron on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Nate Pearson  is scheduled to start for New Hampshire in the first meeting of the year with the Rubberducks (Cleveland Double-A).

The next home game for the Fisher Cats will be on Aug. 6 against Akron. For tickets and information, visit

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