Early Reading Offense Overwhelms on Friday

Courtesy photo/New Hampshire Fisher Cats

MANCHESTER, NH — The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (30-36) dropped a 6-2 result to the Reading Fightin Phils (29-37) at Delta Dental Stadium Friday. The Fisher Cats managed four hits on the night, while the Fightin Phils scored five of their first six runs in the first four innings.

After a 30-minute rain delay, Reading launched an early attack against Fisher Cats starter C.J. Van Eyk (L, 2-5). Doubles from Fightin Phils’ first baseman Carson Taylor and second baseman Trevor Schwecke scored two runs in the top of the first. Center fielder Marcus Lee Sang hit a two-run home run in the top of the second. After 1 ½ innings, the visitors led, 4-0.

Van Eyk’s outing lasted 3 1/3 innings; the right-hander gave up five runs on eight hits. Van Eyk struck out three, including a swinging K when he faced the minimum in the third. After Van Eyk left the game, New Hampshire’s bullpen held Reading to one run in 5 2/3 innings.

New Hampshire fought back with two runs in the bottom of the third against Reading starter Robinson Pina (W, 8-2). First baseman Glenn Santiago was hit by a pitch with one out, then outfielder Devonte Brown doubled to left field. Santiago raced to third, then took home on a throwing error. Brown advanced to third on the wild throw towards home. The next batter, shortstop Josh Kasevich, lifted a sacrifice fly to right field; Brown tagged and scored.

Hunter Gregory was New Hampshire’s first call to the bullpen to escape a bases-loaded snafu in the top of the fourth. He struck out four in his 1 2/3 innings. Right-hander Anders Tolhurst made his Fisher Cats debut and needed five pitches to retire three batters in the sixth. Adrian Hernandez struck out the side in the seventh; Justin Kelly and Juan Nuñez posted zeros in the eighth and ninth innings.

Reading’s Taylor posted four of the Fightin Phils 12 hits.

Cats manager Cesar Martin celebrated his birthday Friday. Martin, 45, is one win away from tying Bobby Meacham for the most wins in Fisher Cats franchise history (204).

Saturday night is Country Night, presented by Belletetes, at Delta Dental Stadium. First pitch between the Fisher Cats and Fightin Phils is set for 6:35 PM EDT. New Hampshire starts LHP Trenton Wallace (3-2, 3.95 ERA), while Reading calls on former Fisher Cats RHP Max Castillo (0-0, 0.00 ERA).