Comeback Cats Score Nine Unanswered to Overcome Somerset

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A Fisher Cat player celebrates. Courtesy/NH Fisher Cats

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (5-1) trailed 7-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth. But thanks to a littany of hits, first baseman Glenn Santiago’s clutch swings and shutdown innings from the bullpen, the Cats climbed past the Somerset Patriots (2-4) by a 10-8 final score.

After more weather complications (rain delays changed Friday’s scheduled doubleheader to a single nine-inning game), New Hampshire came out fast out of the gate, as catcher Zach Britton scored shortstop Josh Kasevich with a double down the left field line. Somerset responded with a solo home run in the second, the first of four Patriots longballs off of Fisher Cats starter Michael Dominguez. The Pats would plate two more as Eastern League home run leader Agustín Ramirez left the yard in the third, and two two-run blasts in the fourth ballooned the Somerset lead to six runs.

The Fisher Cats’ offense chipped away in the fourth, as center fielder Garrett Spain hit his second home run of the year. According to milb.com, the Fisher Cats had a six percent chance of winning the ballgame after the Spain homer. Nine-hole hitter Santiago’s first Double-A hit was a fifth inning double to right, and leadoff man Alan Roden knocked him in.

Somerset plated what looked to be one more insurance run in the sixth — now 8-3 — and Patriots starter Zach Messenger spun a scoreless sixth. The righty struck out eight Fisher Cats total, and his pitch count climbed past 90. Patriots manager Raul Dominguez sent Messenger back out for the seventh, and the game flipped on its head. With one out and second baseman Miguel Hiraldo on first, Santiago drilled a home run to right field, and got the wheels turning for a massive comeback. A Roden single sent Messenger to the showers, then Kasevich ripped his third hit of night, off of lefty Ryan Anderson; third baseman Alex De Jesus singled in Roden, and Britton doubled in Kasevich to cut the Somerset lead to one run. Left fielder Gabby Martinez plated the game’s tying run in De Jesus with a chopper to second.

The go-ahead run came an inning later, and it was Santiago delivering once more. After ending the top of the eighth with an unassisted double play at first base, the righty stepped in with one out, and Hiraldo on second. Santiago flared a fastball to the grass in shallow right field. Hiraldo blew through a stop sign at third base and trucked home to put the Fisher Cats in front. To top it off, Kasevich clubbed his Double-A-leading 14th hit and Santiago trotted home.

Meanwhile, righty Alejandro Melean buckled down on the mound, putting up zeros in three of his four innings. The Venezuelan secured his first win of 2024. Lefty Jimmy Burnette tossed his third 1-2-3 inning of the year to record his first save.

The two squads combined for 27 hits; New Hampshire’s 15 are tied with Bowie for the most by an Eastern league team.

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