Lopes Logs Four Hits in 5-4 Win
ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA – Christian Lopes rapped a career-best four hits and Chris Smith racked up six strikeouts as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats won a 5-4 nail-biter over the Erie SeaWolves Tuesday evening at Jerry Uht Park in Erie.
New Hampshire (31-39) picked up their second straight win after losing five of six to begin the longest road trip of their season, scoring in the first inning and never trailing. The SeaWolves (31-42) lost a one-run game despite having the tying run on base for the second consecutive day. Smith’s six strikeouts were a career-high for him.
The Fisher Cats started the scoring in the top of the first inning against Erie starting pitcher Cory Riordan (L, 4-6). Jason Leblebijian cracked a one-out double, and moved to third on a single by Dwight Smith, Jr. Ryan Lavarnway lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Leblebijian. Rowdy Tellez then doubled Smith to third, and Matt Dean laced a single through the right side to give the Fisher Cats the 2-0 lead. New Hampshire added another in the top of the third, when Dean doubled home Smith to make it 3-0 New Hampshire.
Erie got on the board in the bottom of the third against Fisher Cats starter Jeremy Gabryszwski (W, 5-3), who walked leadoff man Kody Eaves. Grayson Greiner took advantage immediately, doubling home Eaves and trimming the lead to 3-1.
The teams traded scoring frames again in the fourth. New Hampshire got a run when Lopes singled to lead off the frame, and moved to third on a single by Shane Opitz. Roemon Fields bounced into a fielder’s choice, with Lopes scoring to give New Hampshire the 4-1 edge. In the bottom of the frame, Jason Krizan rapped a one-out double, and advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Gabryszwski. Dominic Ficociello walked, and Casey Frawley singled Krizan home. With two outs, Greiner knocked his own single to the outfield, scoring Ficociello to cut the New Hampshire lead to 4-3.
The Fisher Cats got a critical insurance run in the top of the seventh inning. Leblebijian led off with a single, swiped second, and came in with one out when Lavarnway singled through the middle on new reliever Ruben Alaniz to push New Hampshire’s lead to 5-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, Erie came very close on New Hampshire, as reliever Tim Mayza walked leadoff man Connor Harrell before a passed ball by Lavarnway moved Harrell to second. Krizan took advantage singling home Harrell to cut it to 5-4. However, reliever Chris Smith came on and struck out the side to keep New Hampshire in the lead, staying on through the ninth to secure the win.
Gabryszwski earned the win for New Hampshire. The righty pitched five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while fanning one. Brady Dragmire dealt 1.2 frames of strong relief, surrendering one hit and striking out two. Maya gave up a run (unearned) on one hit and one walk in one-third of an inning of work. Chris Smith earned the save with two shutout frames of relief; he struck out six (matching a season-best by any Fisher Cat reliever) and allowed one hit.
The Fisher Cats will try to earn the sweep Wednesday afternoon, with lefty Shane Dawson starting for New Hampshire against Erie right-hander Myles Jaye . First pitch from Jerry Uht Park is at 12:05 p.m., and Ben Gellman has the call starting at 11:45 a.m. on the Fisher Cats Radio Network.
Clifford the Big Red Dog will be appearing at the next Fisher Cats home game on June 24, courtesy of NHPTV. It’s also Olympic Night! It’s almost time for the 2016 Summer Olympics, so come celebrate the rich history of the Olympics with us on Olympic Night!