ALTOONA, Pa. — Melky Mesa’s single in the 12th inning broke a 1-1 tie and lifted the Fisher Cats (21-35) to a 2-1 win over the Altoona Curve (20-36) on Sunday.
With the win, the Fisher Cats swept their first road series of the season and finished their road trip with a 4-2 record.
While the final margin was just one run, it looked like one run was all the Fisher Cats would need. Kevin Nolan belted a solo home run in the top of the fourth, breaking a scoreless tie to give the Fisher Cats a 1-0 edge.
That was all the offense they generated against Altoona starter A.J. Morris and his bullpen during the first nine innings. After Nolan’s homer, Morris and Co. retired the next 15 batters to keep the lead at 1-0.
The Fisher Cats didn’t allow much either. Austin Bibens-Dirkx went the first five innings, allowing three hits with six strikeouts. Tyler Ybarra came on for the sixth before yielding to Arik Sikula for the final out of the seventh. At that point, the Fisher Cats had not allowed a run since the eighth inning on Thursday in Binghamton, a span of 29 1/3 innings.
That changed in the bottom of the eighth. A Drew Maggi leadoff double against Sikula found green grass in shallow center field to set up the Curve’s game-tying rally. A sacrifice bunt moved Maggi to third, and shortstop Alen Hanson brought him home with a single to center field.
In the ninth, still tied, the Curve had a chance to win the game. They put runners at first and second with one out against Dustin Antolin, but a double play started by first baseman Mike McDade sent the game to extra innings.
In the 12th, the Fisher Cats pulled ahead. With one out, Michael Crouse singled and stole second. Jonathan Jones followed with a grounder to short, but Crouse was thrown out when he tried to advance to third. That left Jones at first with two outs, so he promptly stole second. Mesa brought him home on a single to left to put New Hampshire ahead 2-1.
Randy Boone shut the door with a 1-2-3 12th inning for his fifth save since taking over the closer’s role. He saved the win for Scott Copeland (4-5), who worked a scoreless 11th.
Mesa, Crouse and Ryan Schimpf each had two hits for the Fisher Cats. Ralph Henriquez was the only Altoona player who had multiple hits.
Ryan Beckman pitched the 12th for the Curve and took the loss (1-4). Morris struck out six Fisher Cats over his five innings of work. Emmanuel DeLeon, Quinton Miller and Jhonathan Ramos combined to throw five innings of scoreless relief for Altoona, allowing two hits and striking out four.
The Fisher Cats now return home to enjoy a day off before beginning a six-game homestand against Bowie and Erie on Tuesday.
The pitching matchup for Tuesday’s 6:35 p.m. start features righty Aaron Sanchez (1-4, 4.14) against Bowie lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 4.73).