August 20, 2013 - Eastern League (EL) - New Hampshire Fisher Cats
PORTLAND, Maine - Jack Murphy delivered a pair of tie-breaking hits and the Fisher Cats bullpen thwarted a ninth-inning rally to beat the Portland Sea Dogs 8-6 on Tuesday night. Murphy finished the night with three runs batted in for the Fisher Cats (63-64) to even their series with the Sea Dogs (61-67) heading into the finale on Wednesday afternoon.
Before Murphy's big strike in the seventh, the teams traded a flurry of runs over the second and third innings. Portland jumped ahead in the bottom of the second, netting four runs on four hits against Deck McGuire (ND). The key hit in the rally was a wall-ball double by new right-fielder Kevin Heller.
New Hampshire answered in the top of the inning with a five-spot. Andy Burns began the nine-batter rally with a sacrifice fly. Kevin Nolan (tripled) and Ryan Schimpf (double) followed with run-scoring hits to cut the lead to 4-3. After a groundout by Kevin Ahrens tied the game at 4-4, a single from Murphy put New Hampshire on top, 5-4.
McGuire left after five innings, allowing four of his runs and all four of his hits in that Sea Dogs second inning. He left in line for the win before the Sea Dogs rallied against Dayton Marze (W; 1-0) to tie the game on a flare single in the bottom of the sixth.
The Fisher Cats answered right back with Murphy's big strike in the seventh. They loaded the bases as Nolan reached on an error and Schimpf and Ahrens drew back-to-back two-out walks. Murphy then blasted a pitch of the base of the Maine Monster to plate two runs for a 7-5 lead.
The Fisher Cats added a run in the eight to extend the lead to 8-5, but the Sea Dogs weren't done. They scored a run on a single to left to cut the deficit to 8-6. A walk loaded the bases, but Alan Farina (S, 6) retired the final two hitters on lazy fly balls to secure the win for New Hampshire.
Murphy paced a 12-hit attack going 2-4 with three RBI, all coming with two outs. Burns drove home a pair of runs on sac flies while Kevin Nolan went 2-5 with a triple, an RBI, and two runs. John Tolisano added a three-hit night out of the ninth slot with a double and two singles.
Marze earned his first win in Double-A, despite allowing the Sea Dogs to tie the game in the sixth. The star of the Fisher Cats staff was Ryan Tepera, who struck out five Sea Dogs over two scoreless innings in relief. He's allowed just one run in his last 11 innings of work (0.82 ERA).
The Fisher Cats will now play their final game at Hadlock Field this season on Wednesday at noon. RHP Marcus Walden (6-12, 3.68) takes to the hill against Portland's Mickey Pena (Double-A debut). You can follow the game beginning at 11:45 a.m. with Tom Gauthier on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and at www.nhfishercats.com.
The Fisher Cats return home for the final four home games on Monday, August 26 against the Future Red Sox, the Portland Sea Dogs. The series features two giveaways and the final two fireworks shows of the season. Tickets are available by visiting www.nhfishercats.com, stopping by the box office at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, or by calling (603) 641-2005.