NH Fisher Cats play long ball, beat PortlandBy ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader
July 18. 2014 10:23PM
MANCHESTER — A fireworks display followed Friday night’s Eastern League game between the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and the Portland Sea Dogs, but there was an offensive explosion earlier in the evening as well.
The Fisher Cats hit three home runs — one in each of the first three innings — and picked up a 7-4 victory over the Sea Dogs in the second game of a four-game series.
First baseman K.C. Hobson, center fielder Dalton Pompey and designated hitter Andy Burns homered for New Hampshire, which raised its record to 46-52. Portland dropped to 63-36, but still has the league’s best record.
Hobson’s two-run home run was part of a four-run first inning. Pompey hit a solo home run in the second, and Burns hit a solo home run — his team-high 10th of the season — in the third. Pompey’s homer extended his hitting streak to six games. He has seven hits, including two home runs, during that stretch.
Trailing by three, Portland brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but reliever Gregory Infante struck out Shannon Wilkerson looking to end the game. Infante’s final pitch was clocked at 100 mph.
The Fisher Cats entered the game with 81 home runs this season. That placed them in a tie with Harrisburg for third place among Eastern League teams in that category.
New Hampshire scored all seven runs against Portland starter Jeremy Kehrt (1-1), who surrendered eight hits before he exited the mound after the fourth inning. Burns, left fielder Michael Crouse and second baseman Jon Berti each had two hits for the Fisher Cats.
New Hampshire starting pitcher Matt Boyd (1-3) gave up three runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked one. Blake McFarland pitched two innings of scoreless relief before Infante earned his 13th save by pitching out of trouble in the ninth.
The Sea Dogs scored a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the seventh.
Center fielder Derrik Gibson had three of Portland’s seven hits. Gibson began the night ranked fifth among Eastern League players in batting average (.314), and raised his average to .321.
The Fisher Cats are 28-17 in their last 45 games.
Tonight’s (7:05) scheduled starting pitchers are Portland’s Henry Owens (12-3, 2.21 ERA) and New Hampshire’s Daniel Norris (1-0, 4.24). Both throw left-handed. Owens’ 12 victories has him tied with Norfolk’s Tyler Wilson for the most wins among minor league pitchers, and his ERA is the best in the Eastern League. … Portland has lost seven consecutive road games and has been outscored 49-14 during that stretch. … The Sea Dogs began Friday night’s game with the fourth best record among full-season minor league teams.