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May 14. 2014 9:29PM

Fishers swept by Reading


Fisher Cats' Kevin Nolan tags out Reading's Cameron Perkins at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, on Wednesday, in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — The Fisher Cats had one nice, dramatic rally in them on Wednesday afternoon.

Problem was, they were in need of two.

Instead, it was the Reading Fightin Phils who came up with a run in the 10th inning to knock off the Fisher Cats, 5-4, in front of a crowd of 3,696 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium to complete a three-game sweep of the series.

New Hampshire has lost four straight games — each by one run — and has one win in its last eight.

The Fisher Cats are off today and manager Bobby Meacham plans to shake up his batting order when the homestand resumes with the stat of a three-game set against Binghamton on Friday night at 6:35.

Meacham’s team has not hit well all season and especially struggled with men on base in this series.

“We’re at .220 or something like that,” Meacham said. “It’s unacceptable. We’ve got a team that’s supposed to have some good hitters. I’m going to have to change things, but it’s still the same nine guys and they’re supposed to be pretty good hitters.”

The Fisher Cats had six hits on Wednesday and their team batting average dipped to .225, the lowest in the 12-team Eastern League.

Harrisburg has the next lowest totals at .246.

New Hampshire also has the lowest on-base percentage at .290 and Harrisburg is next at .309.

The Fisher Cats were 1-for-23 with runs in scoring position in the series against Reading, 0-for-10 in Wednesday’s game.

Still, they nearly pulled out the win.

They trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth and Michael Crouse — shaken up in the top of the ninth when he crashed into the wall in left field while chasing an Anthony Hewitt high fly ball that turned into an inside the park home run — was down to his last strike.

On a 3-and-2 pitch, Crouse drilled a home run that went off the roof of the Sam Adams Bar & Grill beyond left field.

Gabe Jacobo followed and hit a 2-and-1 offering onto the deck of the Hilton Garden Inn in left center and it was 4-4.

Shortstop Kevin Nolan walked and stole second, but Jon Berti grounded out to second to end the inning.

Randy Boone walked Edgar Duran to open the 10th and he eventually scored on a double down the right field line by Cam Perkins with two out.

Tyke Knigge got the Fisher Cats in order in the bottom of the 10th.

The loss wasted an impressive performance by New Hampshire starter Deck McGuire.

“(Catcher) A.J. Jimenez did a great job calling the game and did a great job keeping them off balance,” McGuire said.

McGuire allowed no runs through seven innings but he and the Fisher Cats ran into trouble in the eighth.

He walked Hewitt to open the inning. Lars Davis hit a comebacker up the middle that McGuire jumped for and the ball went off his glove for an infield hit. Duran’s sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out.

Tyler Ybarra came on for McGuire and his first pitch to Carlos Alonso was wild, scoring Hewitt. Alonso then hit a two-run homer to left to give Reading the 3-2 lead.

McGuire gave up four hits, struck out eight and walked two in his seven and a third innings.

“That was his best outing of the year,” Meacham said. “He kept us in the ballgame and did an outstanding job.”



alessels@unionleader.com


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