Wilson RBI single in 15th gives Fishers win over Thunder
MANCHESTER – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Friday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Finally.
Kevin Wilson's soft liner to right field scored Ryan Schimpf to lift the Fisher Cats to a 5-4 win over the Trenton Thunder in the bottom of the 15th inning in front of 6,102.
Trenton dropped to 65-59 and leads New Hampshire by 4-1/2 games in the race for the second playoff spot in the Eastern Division. It was New Hampshire's longest game of the season.
The Fisher Cats are 60-63.
Schimpf walked to open the 15th. Kevin Ahrens got him to second base with a sacrifice bunt and John Tolisano flied out to center field.
Wilson singled to right field and Schimpf raced around from second and beat the throw home.
Reliever Matt Wright got the win for the Fisher Cats with four scoreless innings.
The Thunder exhausted their bullpen, forcing them to use position players the last four innings. Third baseman Casey Stevenson pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Thunder and backup catcher Jose Gil was working on his second inning when the home team scored.
Schimpf, the left fielder, helped save the Fisher Cats with a super catch to end the top of the 11th inning. There were two on and two outs when Joe Pirela sent a ball deep towards the gap in left center. Schimpf hustled to track it down and grabbed the ball, going away from home plate, with a sliding catch.
The Thunder outhit the Fisher Cats, 13-11.
The Fisher Cats trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the third and tied it quickly.
Andy Burns reached on an infield hit and after Adam Loewen struck out, Jacobo hit an opposite field home run down the right field line off Rigoberto Arrebato. Arrebato had just come on for spot starter Aaron Dott.
Kevin Nolan, the shortstop out of Nashua, followed and drilled the first pitch he saw to left field for his ninth home run of the season to tie it.
The teams proceeded to match zeroes from there into the 15th.
The Fisher Cats put two runners on in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings, but could not score.
Kenny Wilson was hit by a pitch to open the ninth and Burns flied out to right field. Wilson stole second while Loewen batted. Loewen then struck out. Francisco Rondon issued an intentional walk to Jacobo and then got Nolan on a soft liner to center field to end the threat.
Jimenez walked to lead off the 10th and got to second on a Ryan Schimpf fielder's choice. Rondon struck out Kevin Ahrens and John Tolisano to escape trouble again.
The Thunder scored three runs on four hits in the first inning off New Hampshire starter Marcus Walden and added another in the third with three straight two-out singles.
A.J. Jimenez singled and eventually scored on John Tolisano's single in the second inning for the first Fisher Cat run.
Walden allowed four runs on nine hits, struck out four and walked four in his six innings. Evan Crawford came on for two scoreless innings.
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Right-hander Marcus Stroman (6-4 with a 3.22 earned run average) goes for New Hampshire tonight in Game 2 of the three-game set against lefty Nik Turley (9-6, 3.74). Fisher Cat lefty Sean Nolin (8-3, 3.01) faces lefty Jeremy Bleich (2-1, 2.76) in the series finale on Sunday at 1:35. . . . The Fisher Cats open an eight-game roadtrip in Portland on Monday. They play three games against the Sea Dogs and then move on to Reading for five games over four days.