READING, PA – Just because the Manchester Monarchs won two games in Reading, Pennsylvania this week doesn’t mean Granite State teams are going to win every game in the Pretzel City.
In their first game without Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the New Hampshire Fisher Cats fell 5-4 to the Reading Fightin’ Phils.
With Gurriel becoming the second Fisher Cat position player promoted directly to the Toronto Blue Jays, following Anthony Alford in 2017, New Hampshire put Max Pentecost into Gurriel’s cleanup role in the lineup.
Pentecost, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Connor Panas each went 0-for-4 on the evening for the ‘Cat.
Despite his lack of hits on the night, Guerrero Jr. gave New Hampshire the lead in the first on a ground out and then regained the lead for New Hampshire on another ground out in the third after Cornelius Randolph’s solo shot tied things up for Reading in the second.
Both times Guerrero brought home Jonathan Davis, who now leads the Eastern League with 14 runs scored.
Reading would erase New Hampshire’s second lead in the fourth inning, batting around the lineup before Malquin Canelo’s strikeout finally retired the side.
But the damage was done and Reading had a lead it would not relinquish for the rest of the night.
That didn’t mean the Fisher Cats let the Phils rest, as Bo Bichette’s two RBI single in the ninth gave Guerrero one last chance for New Hampshire.
On the first pitch from Trevor Bettencourt, Guerrero would fly out to centerfielder Zach Coppola, giving Bettencourt his second save of the year and sealing the victory for Reading.
Franklyn Kilome (1-0) got the win, lasting 5 1/3 innings against the ‘Cats while Nick Tepesch (1-2) allowed eight hits and a walk in his five inning start against Reading.
New Hampshire will send out Sean Reid-Foley (2-0, 1.46 ERA) against Ranger Suarez (1-1, 4.76 ERA) on Saturday, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m.