Manchester, NH – Jordan Groshans tied a season-best with three hits on Tuesday, but the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays Double-A affiliate) fell to the Reading Fightin’ Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) 9-8 at Delta Dental Stadium.
Tuesday’s game, which lasted four hours and 10 minutes, was the longest nine-inning game in Fisher Cats history.
Groshans, the 12th overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the series opener.
The 21-year-old drove home the game’s first run in the opening frame against Reading starter Francisco Morales (2.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 1 K).
Samad Taylor and Austin Martin led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back walks, and after a flyout by Otto Lopez, LJ Talley walked to load the bases. Groshans then stroked an RBI single to put New Hampshire ahead 1-0. Chavez Young followed with a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 contest.
In the second, Taylor added a sacrifice fly to up the lead to 3-0.
Tyler Carr replaced Morales in the third and was immediately greeted with a leadoff single from Groshans. After New Hampshire loaded the bases, Reggie Pruitt lined a two-run single to give the Fisher Cats a 5-0 edge.
In the fourth, Groshans delivered his third hit, an RBI single to center to give New Hampshire a 6-0 lead.
Fisher Cats starter Maximo Castillo (4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K) held the Fightin’ Phils off the board until Arquimedes Gamboa drilled a two-out, three-run homer to right in the fifth to make it a 6-3 contest.
Will McAffer replaced Castillo in the frame and worked out of a two-on, two-out jam, but he got into trouble in the sixth. After McAffer loaded the bases by allowing a hit and two walks, Grenny Cumana lined an RBI single to left to pull Reading within two at 6-4.
Brody Rodning replaced McAffer and gave up an RBI single to Daniel Brito to cut the deficit to 6-5 before Gamboa tied the game at 6-6 by grounding into a double play.
New Hampshire briefly took a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI fielder’s choice by Young, but the Fightin’ Phils knotted the contest at 7-7 in the top of the seventh on a Luke Miller RBI single against Emerson Jimenez (L, 1-2).
Reading took the lead for good in the eighth against Jimenez thanks to a defensive miscue by the Fisher Cats.
With two on and one out, Jorge Bonifacio lofted a fly ball to right. Daniel Brito tagged from second and moved to third, and as the throw came to third, Bryson Stott tagged from first and moved to second. On the play, the third baseman Capra tried to nab Stott at second, but the throw sailed away, allowing Stott to move to third and Brito to score to give the Fightin Phils an 8-7 edge.
Madison Stokes padded the lead with an RBI single to right to make it 9-7.
Brian Marconi (W, 1-1) earned the win for the Fightin’ Phils, and Braden Zarbnisky logged his fifth save, despite giving up a home run to Young in the eighth.
The series continues on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. RHP Reilly Hovis (0-1, 5.93 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Fisher Cats against Reading LHP Josh Hendrickson (3-1, 3.25 ERA).