by PATRICK CAVANAUGH
(MANCHESTER)—The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are back over .500, as they avoided the sweep and defeated the Western Division rival Erie SeaWolves by a score of 8-3 on
Ryan Schimpf remained hot for New Hampshire, as he wasted no time getting the Fisher Cats on the board with a solo homerun to lead off the bottom of the second inning. The line drive off the scoreboard is Schimpf’s third home run in as many games.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, New Hampshire managed to score two more runs after Dwight Smith Jr. hit an RBI single, and later Roemon Fields scored on a fielder’s choice. This offensive showing in the third gave the Fisher Cats an early 3-0 lead.
Erie answered with a lone run in the top of the 4th inning, after Miguel Gonzalez hit an RBI single to score JaCoby Jones from third base. Though they weren’t done scoring yet, the SeaWolves could not capitalize on several prime opportunities, as they went on to leave twelve men on base.
New Hampshire came to life in the bottom of the sixth inning when Ryan Schimpf hit a leadoff single before K.C. Hobson hit a line drive that cleared the right-field fence. Derrick Chung walked and Emilio Guerrero hit a double before Jorge Flores hit a 2 RBI single to right-field adding two more runs to the tally. The Fisher Cats ended their rally with Kevin Nolan sacrifice fly that scored Roemon Fields. After six innings, the score held 8-1 in favor of the Fisher Cats.
“The pitcher’s did a great job today,” said Fisher Cats manager Bobby Meacham. “They kept us right in it until we got our offense rolling.”
A Jason Krizan sparked some hope for the SeaWolves, but Fisher Cats reliever John Anderson shut Erie down, and the final score held 8-3.
New Hampshire starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx tossed seven complete innings, giving up six hits, one earned run , one walk, and striking out seven Erie batters.
“Austin did a great job,” praised Meacham. “He kept them guessing and off balance, and performed well enough so we could roll him out there for seven innings.”
Bibens-Dirkx was credited with the win, while his Erie counterpart, Michael Fulmer, was charged with the loss.
The Fisher Cats hit the road tomorrow for a four-game series with the Reading Fightin Phils at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM and Taylor Cole (5-9, 4.41) will start on the mound for New Hampshire.
TIME WINDS DOWN: There are just seven home games left to be played here in Manchester, and it feels like fans have seen it all this year at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. For the first time this season, fans saw their first “pitch clock violation” as Erie’s starter Michael Fulmer exceeded the 2:25 break in between innings before delivering his first pitch to start the bottom of the first inning. The penalty in violations like this is for an automatic ball to be added to the current batter’s count. This rule was implemented into both Double-A and Triple-A baseball this year, in an effort to see if it helped speed up the pace of a nine-inning ballgame.
Patrick Cavanaugh covers professional baseball for www.BostonSportsU18.com. He can be reached at . Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @pcava12.