MANCHESTER — The pitching tandem of Nate Pearson and Willy Ortiz was nearly perfect in the Fisher Cats’ 2-0 win over the visiting Richmond Flying Squirrels on Sunday.
Pearson, the No. 2 prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system behind Bo Bichette, got the start for the Fishers, tossing five innings of one-hit ball while striking out three and walking none.
Johneshwy Fargas was credited with the lone knock for the San Francisco Giants’ Double-A affiliate, reaching first base safely on a ground ball to shortstop Vinny Capra. It was a bang-bang play by all accounts, close enough that when the first base umpire deemed Fargas safe, many Fisher Cats were left scratching their heads at the call. Fargas was later caught stealing.
Ortiz (2-3) took over for Pearson in the sixth inning, allowing no hits the rest of the way. Pearson continues to work under a strict innings plan.
“(Pearson) did a good job of establishing his fastball early, allowing him to catch hitters off balance later on in the game with his breaking ball and off-speed stuff,” Fishers manager Mike Mordecai said. “He pitched a really great game. Then Willy came in and pretty much did the same thing. It was a really nice job, and we needed it after burning the bullpen on Saturday.”
Richmond’s Brandon Beachy had a solid outing on the mound in his own right, scattering five hits over 5 2/3 innings before Chad Spanberger turned on a 3-2 offering and cracked a two-out, two-RBI double to right field that plated both Forrest Wall and Capra.
Wall began the frame by pushing a single into left field and advanced to second when Capra notched a single. Josh Palacios and Santiago Espinal were then retired in order, but Wall stole third to put runners on the corners for Spanberger.
Hitting has been a bit of a problem for the Fishers lately, so the team’s seven hits were a positive.
“We’re doing OK,” Mordecai said. “There’s times when I feel like we don’t take advantage of the opportunities we have. But that being said, they don’t stop competing. They keep competing down to the last out. I just think sometimes we need to be a little smarter and figure out how to push the runs across without the big hit. Today we got the big hit, so it ended up working out.”
Wall finished the day 2-for-3 at the plate while Capra went 2-for-4. Wall’s first hit was a shot to right field that just missed leaving the park. Instead, the center fielder settled for his 18th double of the season. The 23-year-old is now hitting .304 through 55 games.