Travis Snider, Jesse Litsch and Wayne Lydon were key contributors to their respective teams on Friday. New Hampshire won 6-4, while Dunedin dropped a 7-6 contest, and Lansing winning 6-2.
New Hampshire 6, New Britain 4
Wayne Lydon drove in three runs and made a game-changing defensive play to lead the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to a 6-4 victory over the New Britain Rock Cats Friday afternoon at New Britain Stadium.
New Hampshire (3-2) scored four runs in the top of the second inning against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Manny Mayorson (3-for-5, 2 R) led off with a single and moved to third base on Ryan Klosterman’s double to centerfield. One out later, David Smith’s infield single drove in Mayorson. After John Schneider drew the first of his three walks, Lydon slapped a two-run single to right, scoring Klosterman and Smith. Brad Hassey’s sacrifice fly gave the Fisher Cats a 4-2 lead.
New Hampshire tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth inning when New Britain reliever Brian Forystek (1.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 5 BB, 3 K) issued four consecutive walks, including bases-loaded walks to Lydon and Dustin Majewski.
Jesse Litsch (1-0) recovered from a shaky first inning to record the win in his season debut. Litsch went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
New Britain (2-3) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning by stringing together five consecutive hits against Litsch. With the bases loaded and only one out, Lydon turned in a defensive gem, tracking down a sinking liner off the bat of Brock Peterson and throwing out Brian Buscher at the plate.
Lee Gronkiewicz worked the final 1.2 innings to record his second save of the season.
David Winfree went 3-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs for the Rock Cats.
New Hampshire and New Britain play game two of their three-game series Saturday afternoon at 1:35pm. Right-hander Mike MacDonald (1-0, 5.40) takes the mound for the Fisher Cats against Rock Cats’ right-hander Jesse Floyd (1-0, 9.00).
Fort Myers 7, Dunedin 6
In Fort Myers, the Blue Jays were defeated in a tough,
hard fought loss, 7-6 contest. The Blue Jays offense quickly
jumped on Miracle pitcher Alexander Smit in the top of the
third inning, taking a three-run lead, with the big
blow in the inning coming on a Brian Jeroloman solo
home run. Dunedin starter Robert Ray gave up four
runs, on six hits, and a walk, over five innings.
With one out in the fifth inning, Whitney Robbins
delivered a bases loaded triple, tying the game at three.
The next batter Erik Lis followed with an infield hit,
plating Robbins, giving the Miracle a 4-3 lead.
The Blue Jays offense would not go down without a
fight on Friday, managing to score a run in the sixth to
tie the game, and two runs in the seventh to take the lead
once again. Jacob Butler hit a two run home run in the
seventh inning to give the Jays the two run lead. He
finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in and two runs scored.
However, the Miracle responded in a big way in the
bottom half, plating three runs to take a 7-6
advantage. Lis and Robbins again paced the offense in
the inning. With two outs and a runner on second base,
Robbins greeted Reliever Edgar Estranga with a run batted
single right up the middle. Lis then followed with a
home run of his own out to the deepest part of the ballpark
giving the Miracle a one run lead. Robbins and Lis
combined for all seven RBI in the game for the Miracle.
Miracle Reliever David Shinskie pitched the next 2 2/3
innings, scattering just three hits and allowing no
runs, to earn the win for the Miracle. The ninth
inning wasn’t without drama though.
Juan Peralta and Jacob Butler hit consecutive singles
to start the ninth. Cory Patton came up next and hit a
grounder to second, an tailored made double play ball,
however, the relay throw to first was errant, allowing
Peralta to trot home from third base. However, to the
vantage point of the umpire Clint Fagan, he ruled that
Butler interfered with the shortstop relaying the
throw, resulting in Peralta being sent back to third
base with two outs. Shinskie retired Josh Kreuzer to end
Lansing 6, Great Lakes 2
After a year's worth of waiting, the Great Lakes Loons finally got a chance to play a home game at Dow Diamond. The Lugnuts were intent on spoiling the festivities. Lansing put five runs on the board in the first three innings and never looked back en route a 6-2 win before 5,454 fans at the first-ever game to take place the ballpark.
The Lugnuts took the lead in the second inning when Josh Bell doubled off of the center field wall to plate Travis Snider to make it 1-0. The Lugnuts were able to load the bases later in the frame with two men out when Chris Gutierrez delivered a single into right field that plated two runs to make the score 3-0.
Lansing added two more runs in the third to take a comfortable 5-0 lead. The Lugnuts' A.J. Wideman took over from there. Wideman (1-0) commanded the strike zone and had the Loons' hitters off-balance as he tossed 5 1/3 innings while allowing two unearned runs and fanning eight.
The Loons tried to mount a comeback in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out. A Chris Gutierrez error allowed Trayvon Robinson to score to cut the lead to 5-1. Matt Berezay lifted a sacifice fly to center field to bring the Loons to within three runs, but Lansing's Edward Rodriguez got Eduardo Perez to fly out to end the threat.
Snider gave the Lugnuts an insurance run in the ninth when lined a single into center field to plate Scott Campbell and make it a 6-2 game.
Lansing (3-1) and Great Lakes (4-3) will continue the series on Saturday at Dow Diamond. Chase Lirette will make his first start for the Lugnuts, while Cody White (0-1, 2.45) will get the ball for the Loons. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.