MANCHESTER, NH – Kevin Nolan blasted a three-run homer in the fourth, and then Pierce Rankin smacked a two-run shot in the sixth, but the Fisher Cats couldn’t overcome a seven-run first-inning deficit in a 10-6 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats.
The defeat left the Fisher Cats (16-17) with a three-game sweep at the hands of New Britain (25-7) as they head out on the road for a seven-game road trip.
New Britain virtually assured itself of a victory when it put up seven runs in the top of the first against starting pitcher Casey Lawrence (L; 2-4). David Dahl and Tommy Murphy drove home the first two runs before Pat Valaika and Juan Ciriaco had back-to-back hits to make it 4-0. Jan Vazquez followed with the loudest hit of the inning, a three-run homer to right for a 7-0 lead.
The Rock Cats added two more runs against Lawrence when Dahl hit a lead-off homer to begin the second. A walk, a steal, a fly ball, and a single from Ciriaco pushed another across in the fifth. Lawrence left after five, giving up a career-high nine earned runs with three Ks and a walk.
Nolan’s blast occurred in the bottom of the fourth when Jorge Flores (walk) and Dwight Smith Jr. (single) reached in front of him. His second homer of the homestand landed in the Picnic Area in left field and cut the deficit to 8-3 at the time.
Rankin’s second career Double-A home run came in the sixth. Nolan singled to begin the inning before Matt Newman flied to right. Rankin followed by depositing his first of the season over the right field wall, cutting the lead to 9-5.
New Britain added one more in the eight to make it 10-5, but the Fisher Cats answered with a sac fly from Christian Lopes to cap the scoring at 10-6 in the bottom of the inning.
Nolan and Rankin each had two hits and combined to drive in five of the team’s six runs. Smith Jr. added a pair of singles and scored his team-leading 23rd run.
The Fisher Cats now hit the road for a seven-game swing through Binghamton and Reading beginning Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. Right-hander Taylor Cole takes the ball in game one against the Mets’ Luis Cessa. Radio coverage begins at 6:15 p.m. with Ben Gellman on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and at www.nhfishercats.com.
The Fisher Cats return home for a Memorial Day Weekend celebration starting Friday, May 22. The stand includes three Atlas Fireworks shows and a Memorial Day matinee. Tickets are available by visiting www.nhfishercats.com, visiting the stadium box office, or by calling (603) 641-2005.