NEW BRITAIN, CT – Despite erasing a four-run deficit early on with a big homer by Dwight Smith, Jr., the New Hampshire Fisher Cats couldn’t avoid their second consecutive loss, suffering an 8-5 defeat at the hands of the New Britain Rock Cats. The loss drops New Hampshire to 5-3 on the season and into a tie with the Binghamton Mets for first place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division.
The Rock Cats jumped ahead early, striking first in the bottom of the second. Leadoff hitter Tommy Murphy took Fisher Cats starter Taylor Cole deep to left field, banging a homer off the scoreboard to give New Britain the 1-0 advantage. The home team poured it on in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with no outs. Tyler Massey worked a run-scoring walk before Cole was able to fan the next two hitters. However, Mike Tauchman chased Cole from the game with a two-run double to right field, making it 4-0 in favor of New Britain.
New Hampshire came storming back, however. After a dropped foul error allowed leadoff man Kevin Nolan to reach on a walk in the top of the fourth, Jake Fox singled to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third with two outs, and K.C. Hobson drove in Nolan on a ground out. Matt Newman slashed a single to center to plate Fox, cutting the lead to 4-2. In the top of the fifth, Shane Opitz rapped a double to right field before Smith launched a laser to right that ricocheted off the light tower for a game-tying homer.
New Britain surged back ahead in the seventh inning. Consecutive one-out doubles off Fisher Cats reliever Cory Burns (L; 2-1) snapped the tie, and an RBI single by Tommy Murphy made it 6-4 Rock Cats. With two outs and a runner on first, Noel Cuevas smashed an RBI double off Danny Barnes to left, which Will Swanner then followed with an RBI single for a four-run inning and an 8-4 New Britain lead.
The Fisher Cats got a run back in the eighth when Jack Murphy singled Fox home off Gus Schlosser (W; 1-1), and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with one out. However, Austin House struck out both Ryan Schimpf and Fox to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
The Fisher Cats will look to get back in the win column Friday night from New Britain Stadium. First pitch in New Britain, Conn., is at 6:35 p.m. on Friday night. RHP Casey Lawrence gets the ball against New Britain righty Shane Carle. Radio coverage begins at 6:15 p.m. with Ben Gellman on the WGIR FisherCats Radio Network and at www.nhfishercats.com.
On April 23 the team returns home for a seven-game stand, beginning with Thursday Night Rock 101 DJ and Atlas Fireworks night. Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat will visit Northeast Delta Dental Stadium during the homestand from April 24-26. To purchase tickets and to view the entire promotional schedule, visit www.nhfishercats.com.
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