Manchester, N.H. – Kevin Vicuña ripped a game-winning single to right field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth to cap a four-run comeback as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays Double-A affiliate) stunned the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) 7-6 on Thursday at Delta Dental Stadium.
Trailing 6-3, the Fisher Cats (29-36) loaded the bases in the ninth on a pair of walks and a single by Austin Martin. Otto Lopez drew an RBI walk to make it 6-4. Pinch-hitter Vinny Capra plated two runs with a single to right field to tie the game at 6-6. After Samad Taylor was intentionally walked to reload the bases, Vicuña singled to give New Hampshire the walk-off win.
Kyle Johnston (W, 1-1) earned the win with an inning of scoreless relief. New Hampshire’s bullpen had a good night with Marcus Reyes providing 2.1 innings without allowing a run, and Sean Rackoski allowing just one run in his lone inning on the mound.
Reading (28-41) opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Josh Stephen walked, Arquimedes Gamboa singled, and Bryson Stott grounded out for the first run. A single by Grenny Cumana made it 2-0 for the Fightin Phils.
The Fisher Cats responded with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Martin reached on an error, Lopez singled, and LJ Talley’s sacrifice fly cut the Reading lead to 2-1.
Each team hit a home run in the third inning. Reading’s Jack Conley hit a three-run shot off starter Johnny Barbato that hit the left-field foul pole in the top of the inning. Chavez Young hit his third of the season, a solo shot in the bottom of the inning which left the score 5-2 in favor of Reading.
Both Reading and New Hampshire scored single runs in the eighth. Cumana had an RBI single for the Fightin Phils. New Hampshire started the bottom of the inning with a double by Lopez and an infield single by Talley. Samad Taylor’s base hit brought home the run to make it 6-3.
Jack Perkins worked six innings in a solid start for the Fightin Phils, allowing two runs (one earned) and reliever Aneurys Zabala struck out six in his two innings of relief. Jonathan Hennigan (L, 0-3) was tagged with the loss.
The Fisher Cats and Reading meet again on Friday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Casey Lawrence will start for New Hampshire against Reading RHP Adam Leverett.