Fisher Cats, down to last strike, rally to win in the ninth
MANCHESTER — Down to their last out and final strike, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats got things going and came from behind to pull out a 3-2 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in front of 6,312 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Sunday.
The Fisher Cats rebounded from a 10-3 loss on Saturday night and took the series from the league-leading Sea Dogs, three games to one.
“That was a huge win in for this team,” said Fisher Cat left fielder Jon Berti. “A great effort all around, up and down the lineup.”
Dalton Pompey and Berti at the top of the lineup delivered the key blows in the ninth inning after Andy Fermin and then Matt Newman got the rally started.
Portland reliever Aaron Kurcz retired the first two batters in the ninth.
Fermin came on to pinch hit and after fouling off a couple of pitches, with the count 2 and 2, looked at a pitch that was mighty close to being a strike but was called a ball.
Fermin then worked a walk and so did Newman, who was also pinch-hitting.
Pompey followed with his third hit of the game, a single to right that scored Fermin.
Then came Berti and his single to left field scored Newman with the winning run.
“I’m glad they got rewarded for their hard work,” said New Hampshire manager Bobby Meacham. “Not just Berti but the rest of them got rewarded, too. Those were great at-bats they had at the end.”
Right-hander Casey Lawrence went a season-high eight innings for the Fisher Cats and allowed 10 hits but only two runs. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Dustin Antolin allowed three hits in the ninth inning, but not a run and got the win.
The Fisher Cats improved to 47-53 and Portland fell to 64-37.
Portland starter Brian Johnson and Lawrence each allowed a first-inning run and nothing else until the fourth.
Portland second baseman Sean Coyle singled to right field with two outs and scored on Dave Chester’s double down the third base line in the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, Pompey led off with a single to right and hustled to third when the ball got past Shannon Wilkerson for a two-base error. Pompey scored the unearned run on Berti’s ground out.
Wilkerson’s infield single on a slow roller down the third base line knocked in Ryan Dent, who had doubled to lead off the fourth inning, to put the Sea Dogs back on top, 2-1.
Johnson worked out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings.
The Fisher Cats had runners at first and third with two outs in the fifth and Jorge Flores lined out to right field.
With one out in the sixth, New Hampshire had the bases loaded after a couple of singles and a walk. Johnson got K.C. Hobson to fly out to Coyle and got Michael Crouse on a ground out to third.