Fisher Cats win 8-6; final home game tonight
MANCHESTER – The Fisher Cats got one back.
They survived a Sea Dogs rally and took the lead on run-scoring double by Kevin Ahrens in the bottom of the seventh inning on the way to an 8-6 win in the penultimate game of the season at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Fisher Cats improved to 67-69 for the season and are a game ahead of the Sea Dogs, who dropped to 66-70.
Portland won the first two games of the series.
New Hampshire wraps up the home portion of its schedule with one more game against the Sea Dogs tonight at 6:35. Casey Lawrence starts for New Hampshire and Keith Couch for Portland.
Left fielder Ryan Schimpf had a home run, double and single and scored three runs to lead the Fisher Cats.
The Fisher Cats came up with five runs and five hits in the bottom of the sixth to break open a 1-1 game.
Amadeo Zazueta's two-run double was the big blow, Kevin Ahrens and Kenny Wilson knocked in runs with singles and Andy Burns scored the last with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Sea Dogs got the five back in short order in the top of the seventh. Garin Cecchini drilled a bases-loaded triple off the wall in center field to drive in the first three runs. Cecchini scored on a fielder's choice by Christian Vazquez and J.C. Linares homered to left field and it was tied at 6-6.
New Hampshire took the lead back at 7-6 on doubles by Schimpf and Ahrens in the seventh.
Portland threatened in the top of the eighth and had runners on second and third with no outs but could not scratch out a run against Alan Farina. He got Ryan Dent on a pop foul to first baseman Kevin Ahrens and then struck out Derrik Gibson and Shannon Wilkerson to end the inning.
The Fisher Cats extended their lead to 8-6 in the bottom of the eighth.
The teams swapped second-inning runs.
Portland's Deven Marrero reached on an error by second baseman Lance Zawadzki and scored on Ryan Dent's double to left center.
The Fisher Cats got that back in one swing when Schimpf drilled a 2-0 Jeremy Kehrt pitch over everything in right field with one out in the bottom of the second.
Kehrt made his seventh start of the season and first since Aug. 10 against Bowie. He went six innings and allowed four runs, only one of them earned, on six hits in that one.
Sea Dog right-hander Matt Barnes has been called up to Pawtucket and is expected to make his Triple-AAA debut tonight for the PawSox against Syracuse. Barnes had been scheduled to pitch against the Fisher Cats ... Cecchini wasted little time in extending his on-base streak to 37 games with a first-inning walk.