NEW BRITAIN, CT – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats scored early and never looked back, riding a complete-game performance from starter Casey Lawrence to a 9-4 win over the New Britain Rock Cats Friday night at New Britain Stadium.
The Fisher Cats (24-24) wound Lawrence up and watched him go, as the righty delivered the first nine-inning complete game by a New Hampshire hurler since Deck McGuire did it August 13, 2013 at New Britain. The Rock Cats (30-17) were victimized by a big second inning and never really threatened after that, allowing New Hampshire to claim their first win at New Britain Stadium in 2015.
New Hampshire opened the scoring in the top of the first inning against New Britain starter Devin Burke (L, 0-1). Jorge Flores led off the game with a single, and Daric Barton delivered a one-out single to put runners at the corners. K.C. Hobson came through with a double to right-center field, plating Flores. Matt Newman then lofted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Barton and making it 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
The Fisher Cats broke the game wide open in the bottom of the second. Jack Murphy worked a leadoff walk, and Shane Opitz and Ian Parmley followed with singles to load the bases with no outs. Burke plunked Flores to score Murphy, and Dwight Smith, Jr. hit a high bouncer to score Opitz, keeping the bases loaded with no outs. Barton slashed a double to right to score two runs, and Hobson delivered a single to plate one more. Burke was bounced from the game, and reliever Shane Broyles allowed Newman to hit another sacrifice fly, scoring Barton and giving New Hampshire an 8-0 lead.
The Rock Cats struck back in the bottom of the third. Jan Vazquez and Jayson Langfels opened the inning with back-to-back singles off Lawrence (W, 4-5), who then served up a homer to Dean Espy on an inside fastball. The three-run shot closed the gap to 8-3.
New Hampshire tacked on another run in the top of the fourth against Broyles.Barton and Hobson knocked consecutive one-out singles, and Ronald Torreyes sliced a two-out single to center, scoring Hobson. The run extended the New Hampshire advantage to 9-3.
The Rock Cats got one back in the bottom of the ninth. Lawrence allowed consecutive singles to begin the inning, and a force-out at second put runners at the corners with one out. Vazquez hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Tom Murphy to trim the Fisher Cats lead to 9-4. However, Lawrence induced a line-out by Langfels to end the game and secure the victory.
Lawrence earned the complete game victory, allowing four runs on nine hits and fanning six. He bounced back from a nine-run start the last time out, and got the road trip off to a great beginning for the Fisher Cats.
New Hampshire will look to make it three straight wins when they take the field Saturday night at 6:35 p.m. Righty Taylor Cole gets the ball for the Fisher Cats against New Britain starter Matt Flemer. Radio coverage begins at 6:15 p.m. with Ben Gellman on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and www.nhfishercats.com.
The Fisher Cats return to Manchester on Tuesday night for the start of a six-game homestand that features two Atlas Fireworks shows, two mid-week day games, and a hat giveaway on Sunday. Tickets are available at www.nhfishercats.com.