Wall prevents Reading no-no

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Forest Wall

READING, Penn. – There was one Eastern League no-hitter on Thursday night, but there could have been two.

Reading Fightin’ Phils pitchers limited the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to just one hit, taking Game 1 of their series by a score of 8-1.

Only Forest Wall’s third-inning single prevented the no-no. The third also saw New Hampshire get its only run of the night as well, with Chad Spanberger drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring Vinny Capra home.

That third inning rally halved the lead Reading built in the first, but they’d grab two more in the fourth, followed by another in the fifth and a three-run shot by Darick Hall in the sixth.

Hall went 2-for-3 with 5 RBI in total while Reading also got multi-hit from Luke Williams and Ali Castillo.

Reading starting pitcher Mauricio Llovera (1-0) left after five innings of work, with Fightins’ relievers JD Hammer and Garrett Cleavinger going just four batters over the minimum the rest of the way.

If Llovera hadn’t given up that hit to Wall, Reading’s win would have marked the fourth no-hitter in the league this year already, following Portland’s combined no-hitter over Binghamton elsewhere on Thursday night.

Llovera did lead a one-hitter of the Fisher Cats last April 8, the last time New Hampshire mustered just one hit. The last time New Hampshire was no-hit came on April 26, 2016 against Trenton.

The loss went to Yennsy Diaz (1-2), with Diaz giving up four runs off four hits and walk walks during his 3 1/3 inning performance. Reliever Jonathan Cheshire also saw his ERA skyrocket, giving up three more runs during his seven out stretch in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

On Friday, Andrew Sopko (0-2, 3.18 ERA) takes the mound for New Hampshire against Reading’s Tom Eshelman (0-1, 7.88 ERA)