Gunnar shows power in Fisher Cats' win
MANCHESTER — Gunnar Heidt is known more for his speed than his power but it was the latter that lifted the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to victory Wednesday.
Heidt’s three-run home run in the sixth inning led the Fisher Cats to a 5-3 comeback win over the Reading Fightin Phils with 6,228 in attendance at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
On a 2-2 count with one out, Heidt deposited the ball over the fence in right center field to give New Hampshire a 4-3 advantage. His homer brought home Ryan McBroom and Emilio Guerrero, who reached base via singles.
“It was just what we needed,” Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson said.
Heidt registered his first Double-A home run in the Fisher Cats’ 9-7 loss to Reading on Monday. He logged 13 home runs alongside 50 stolen bases over his first three minor league seasons.
“As far as me being a full-blown power-hitter, I would say no but it’s nice to run into a few,” Heidt said.
Emilio Guerrero scored on Raffy Lopez’s ground out in the eighth inning to give New Hampshire (2-4) an insurance run.
Heidt, a utility player from Murrells Inlet, S.C., put together his best plate appearance in his brief Double-A career in the win. The 24-year-old went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and finished a triple short of the cycle.
Heidt logged one hit in three of his first four games with New Hampshire this season. Allenson said Heidt has handled the adjustment to Double-A well and has found a way to hit despite being asked to play all over the field defensively.
“It’s not easy to hit when you’re playing right field one day and then third base and then second base and going back and forth because you’ve got to work at all those spots,” Allenson said. “But he’s handled it pretty well.”
Reading’s Scott Kingery belted a two-out, three-run home run to left-center in the second inning to open the game’s scoring. Kingery drove in Jiandido Tromp and Malquin Canelo, who reached base on walks.
New Hampshire’s Raffy Lopez blasted a two-out solo home run over the right field fence in the fourth inning to cut the Fightin Phils’ lead to 3-1.
The Fightin Phils (2-4) had success against New Hampshire starter Sean Reid-Foley over his 1⅔ innings of work. The Toronto Blue Jays’ top pitching prospect, according to MLB.com, allowed three earned runs on three hits and two walks and struck out three. Allenson said Reid-Foley was trying too hard on the mound and throwing the ball instead of pitching.
Tim Mayza earned the win. He pitched two innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits and striking out two. Jose Fernandez earned the save after allowing no hits, one walk and striking out three over the final two innings.
“The bullpen did a super job keeping us in the game,” Allenson.
Alexis Rivero, who gave up the three-run homer to Heidt, took the loss and a blown save. He allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out three over 1⅔ innings. Reading starter Tom Eshelman allowed three earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out four over 5⅓ innings.
Heidt’s goals for himself this season are simple: play hard and help the team win like he did Wednesday. A few more homers wouldn’t be bad, either.
“A couple more home runs would be a plus, yes,” Heidt said.