Fisher Cats pitching staff strikes out 17 in extra-inning defeat

Photo/NH Fisher Cats

MANCHESTER, NH — The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (30-37) fell 4-3 to the Reading Fightin Phils (30-37) in 11 innings at Delta Dental Stadium Saturday. The Fisher Cats struck out 17 Fightin Phils’ hitters, but the Cats’ bats couldn’t plate the game-winning run in both the ninth and tenth.

Reading scored two runs in the top of the 11th against Andrew Bechtold (L, 0-3), both of which were unearned. Before the Fightin Phils scored the deciding runs, New Hampshire had two walk-off chances. In the ninth, designated hitter Devonte Brown singled to begin the inning; after a fly out to right, Brown was caught stealing to clear the bases. In the 10th, inherited runner Zach Britton advanced to third on a deep flyout from right fielder Gabriel Martinez. After center fielder

Garrett Spain was intentionally walked, two pop outs ended the frame.

New Hampshire starter Trenton Wallace was resilient throughout his Saturday start. Despite giving up a hit in each of his six innings, the southpaw only allowed one run, a solo home run by Reading designated hitter Baron Radcliff, and stranded seven runners on base. Wallace struck out multiple Fightin Phils in three of his six innings, including retiring the side swinging in the sixth. His nine strikeouts tied a season-high, which he set on May 29 against Akron.

Bullpen arms Braydon Fisher, Jimmy Burnette, Ryan Boyer and Bechtold combined for eight strikeouts in five innings pitched, all without an earned run. Boyer struck out four straight hitters in the ninth and tenth in his 18th straight scoreless appearance. New Hampshire’s 17 total strikeouts were one short of the season-high, set on April 9 against Somerset.

Fisher Cats first baseman Rainer Nuñez opened the scoring in the second. Facing Reading starter Max Castillo, Nuñez cracked a two-strike fastball over the right field fence for his sixth home run of the year. The 23-year-old is now 5-for-13 through four games in the series. Radcliff tied the game, 1-1, with his solo shot in the fifth.

New Hampshire jumped in front in the seventh. With two outs, Martinez doubled down the left field line, then Spain hit a deep fly ball to center field. Reading outfielder Marcus Lee Sang slipped and the ball bounced past him, allowing Martinez to score and Spain to race to third for his first triple of the year. After seven innings, the Cats led, 2-1.

Reading tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth on a walk, a hit batter and an error.

In the top of the 11th, Radcliff put the Phils in front, 3-2, with a two out single to right field which scored inherited runner Trevor Schwecke. Catcher Andrick Nava, who reached on a walk then went first-to-third on Radcliff’s hit, scored on an error to double Reading’s advantage, 4-2. New Hampshire scored inherited runner Ryan McCarty on a Josh Kasevich groundout in the bottom of the frame but left potential tying run Alex De Jesus on first after his one-out single.

The series between Reading and New Hampshire concludes Sunday with 1:35 PM EDT first pitch. The Fisher Cats send right-hander Michael Dominguez (2-2, 4.13 ERA) to the mound, and the Fightin Phils call upon RHP Noah Skirrow (4-3, 5.65 ERA) for the series finale.