New Hampshire Hardball

Fishers Cats 10/1, Patriots 8/2

Bridgewater, N.J – After 18 combined innings and two vastly different games, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays Double-A affiliate) split a doubleheader with the Somerset Patriots (New York Yankees) on Thursday at TD Bank Ballpark.

Game 1: Fisher Cats 10, Patriots 8 (F/11)

Jordan Groshans returned to New Hampshire’s lineup with a two-run homer in the opening inning, but Dermis Garcia answered with a two-run blast of his own in the bottom half of the first. An Isiah Gilliam RBI triple and a Max Pita RBI single put Somerset ahead 4-2, and Fisher Cats starter Maximo Castillo was relieved by Graham Spraker after 0.2 innings.

Neither team scored again until the top of the seventh, when LJ Talley forced extra innings with a two-out, two-run double to left field, tying the game at 4-4 with New Hampshire down to its final strike.

The Fisher Cats looked to have the game in hand with three runs in the top of the ninth inning on a run-scoring single from Otto Lopez, an RBI triple from Gabriel Moreno, and a sacrifice fly from Talley, but Somerset tied the game at 7-7 with back-to-back homers. Oswaldo Cabrera hit a two-run blast to right, and Michael Beltre evened things up with a solo shot to right center.

The teams traded runs in the 10th, but New Hampshire finally pulled away with a pair in the 11th on a bases-loaded walk to Talley and a sac fly from Samad Taylor.

Jon Harris (W, 1-2) struck out two in a scoreless bottom of the 11th to secure the 10-8 win. He was one of eight Fisher Cats pitchers, the most ever used by New Hampshire in a single game.

Moreno went 3-for-6 to raise his average to .393, while Lopez went 2-for-4 to extend his league-best hitting streak to 17 games.

Spraker (2.1), Cre Finfrock (1 IP), Fitz Stadler (1 IP), Willy Gaston (1 IP) combined to throw 5.1 hitless innings out of the bullpen.

Game 2: Patriots 2, Fisher Cats 1

The second half of the twin bill saw a pitcher’s duel between New Hampshire’s Troy Miller and Somerset’s Luis Gil (W, 1-0).

In his Double-A debut, Miller threw five shutout innings with three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts. Gil was perfect through three with six strikeouts, until Austin Martin hit a one-out double in the fourth and scored from third after a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Otto Lopez.

New Hampshire was five outs away from a doubleheader sweep, but Jason Lopez started a rally with a one-out walk in the sixth. He moved to third on a pair of Brody Rodning (L, 0-3) wild pitches, and scored the tying run on an Oliver Dunn single. After another wild pitch moved Dunn to second, Max Burt and Aaron Palensky hit back-to-back singles to put Somerset in front, 2-1.

Stephen Ridings (S, 1) recorded the game’s final three outs in order.


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