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Fisher Cats outslugged

By ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader

April 13. 2018 11:22PM
Hartford's Garrett Hampson is safe at second in the first inning as Fisher Cats' Bo Bichette tries to make a play during the NH Fishercats game opener at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)



MANCHESTER — Through the team’s first seven games, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats led the Eastern League with a 2.25 team ERA. That ERA took a hit in the team’s home opener Friday night, however.

Hartford collected eight runs (six earned) on 11 hits against four New Hampshire pitchers and picked up an 8-5 victory at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The Yard Goats, Colorado’s Double-A affiliate, did most of their damage against New Hampshire starter Nick Tepesch, who allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out one.

Tepesch, 29, held Hartford to a run on three hits and struck out six in six innings when the Fisher Cats beat the Yard Goats 4-1 on April 7.

“His breaking ball just wasn’t there tonight from the get-go,” New Hampshire manager John Schneider said. “Sinker was working (but) he never really got into a groove. He did a great job getting through what he got through with what he had tonight. The difference (in the two starts) was his breaking ball effectiveness.”

Hartford's Mylz Jones is out at first as Fisher Cats' Cavan Biggio comes down with the ball and a tag in the first inning during the NH Fishercats game opener at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

The Yard Goats (2-6) broke a 3-3 tie by scoring four runs on three hits in the fifth. Three of those four runs were charged to Tepesch. The Fisher Cats (6-2) scored two unearned runs in the sixth, but Hartford capped the scoring with an unearned run in the seventh. Hartford scored a run against Danny Young and an unearned run against Dusty Isaacs.

Center fielder Jonathan Davis had three hits for the Fisher Cats, who received two-hit games from third baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr., catcher Max Pentecost and designated hitter Andrew Guillotte. Pentecost, the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft, provided New Hampshire’s offensive highlight by hitting a solo home run in the second.

Pentecost has undergone shoulder surgery on his throwing arm three times since being drafted and has been limited to 171 games in four professional seasons.

“He’s a guy we’re looking to to have a big year,” Schneider said. “When you’re not playing every day — it’s kind of on/off for him the first couple weeks until he gets built up — it’s tough to be consistent in the (batter’s) box. Once the dust settles and he’s in (the lineup) a little more regularly I think you can look for pretty consistent offensive numbers as well.”

The Fisher Cats' Lourdes Gurriel heads in after signing autographs during the NH Fishercats game opener against Hartford at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester on Friday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

The Fisher Cats spotted the Yard Goats a 3-0 lead, but pulled even by scoring a run in the bottom of the second and two in the third against Hartford starting pitcher Jesus Tinoco. After Pentecost hit his home run in the second, shortstop Bo Bichette’s RBI triple in the third scored Davis to make it 3-2, and then Guerrero Jr. singled home Bichette.

Tinoco, who is on Colorado’s 40-man roster, began his professional career in the Blue Jays’ organization. Toronto signed him as an international free agent, but he was traded to Colorado in 2015 along with Jose Reyes, Miguel Castro and Jeff Hoffman in exchange for Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins. Tinoco held the Fisher Cats to three runs on six hits in five innings.

Catcher Dom Nunez led the Hartford offense with two hits and three RBIs. Right fielder Sam Hilliard and left fielder Yonathan Daza each had two hits for the Yard Goats.

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The Yard Goats have four of the top eight prospects in the Rockies’ organization on their roster, including shortstop Brendan Rodgers. Baseball America has Rodgers ranked as Colorado’s No. 1 prospect. The other top prospects with the Yard Goats are right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert (No. 5), right-handed pitcher Ryan Castellani (No. 6) and second baseman Garrett Hampson (No. 8). Hampson collected three hits (a double and two singles) and reached base four times in Friday night’s game.

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Bichette’s triple in the third inning extended his hitting streak to seven games. … The Fisher Cats and Yard Goats will play the second game of their three-game series tonight (6:05). … Friday’s announced attendance was 5,628.

rbrown@unionleader.com


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