Macko masters Reading

Photo/NH Fisher Cats

MANCHESTER, NH — The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (30-35) snagged another one-run victory over the Reading Fightin Phils (28-37), at Delta Dental Stadium on Wednesday evening by a score of 4-3. After a 30-minute rain delay, Fisher Cats starter Adam Macko (W, 5-2) tossed six solid frames, and the Fisher Cats offense reached double-digit hits for the second straight night.

Macko didn’t miss a beat despite the wait, facing one over the minimum over the first six innings. The southpaw struck out four and induced double plays to end the first and second innings. Although Reading started the scoring in the top of the third, as former Fisher Cat Trevor Schwecke bopped a solo home run, Macko bounced back to retire 12 straight. New Hampshire’s No. 9 prospect allowed the first two Phils to reach in the top of the seventh, eventually his second and third earned runs of the night. Macko tossed a season-high 96 pitches Thursday in his third-straight quality start.

Josh Kasevich, Miguel Hiraldo and Rainer Nuñez each contributed two of the Cats’ 10 hits. Kasevich now has 77 hits, which leads the Eastern League. Hiraldo cranked his seventh double of the year off the right field wall. Nuñez now has three straight multi-hit efforts (seven in 12 at-bats).

The Cats provided their starter with run support in the bottom of the third. Hiraldo doubled off Reading starter Matt Osterburg (L, 1-4) to lead off the frame; Garrett Spain extended his hit streak to six games with a single; then Devonte Brown walked to load the bases. With one out, Kasevich lined a sacrifice fly to center field which scored Hiraldo and tied the game, 1-1. New Hampshire then took the lead on a single up the middle from Alex De Jesus which plated Spain. After three innings, the Fisher Cats led, 2-1.

Two more hits were fruitless in the bottom of the fourth, but Kasevich provided insurance in the fifth with what turned out to be the game-winning run. With one out and Brown on second, New Hampshire’s shortstop lined a single to center field. Brown raced around third and scored as Reading center fielder Marcus Lee Sang hurled the ball to the plate; meanwhile, Kasevich took off for second. Fightin Phils catcher Andrick Nava tossed the ball over the covering infielders and into the outfield, which allowed Kasevich to advance all the way to home. After the bases-clearing sequence, New Hampshire led, 4-1.

Reading plated two in the top of the seventh, both on Macko’s line. Right-hander Andrew Bechtold entered from the New Hampshire bullpen, and after a ground-rule double and a sac fly, struck out back-to-back Fightin Phils to end the inning. T.J. Brock and Jimmy Burnette (S, 4) put up zeros in the eighth and ninth to seal the 4-3 win.

On Thursday night, the Fisher Cats celebrate Copa de la Diversion at Delta Dental Stadium with a 6:35 PM EDT first pitch. The Gatos Feroces de New Hampshire send RHP C.J. Van Eyk (2-4, 7.35 ERA) to the mound and the Luchadores de Reading counter with RHP Max Castillo (0-3, 7.94 ERA), who spent two previous seasons with New Hampshire.