The New Britain Rock Cats lost their season opener on Wednesday, falling 7-4 at the hands of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Fisher Cats scored four runs in the bottom of the first, then two in the second, and were in complete control from start to finish. New Britain tacked on some runs late in the game, but the game was in hand at that point.
Jeff Manship (0-1) got the start for New Britain, but was touched hard in his return to the Rock Cats’ starting rotation. The young right-hander allowed six runs (five earned) in four innings of work, as he struggled with his command in the early going. Matthew Fox, Zach Ward, and Jose Lugo combined to pitch the rest of the way, performing well, as they allowed only one earned run in four innings of relief.
New Britain was led offensively by Whit Robbins and Joe Gaetti, who each had two hits.
“You can’t win them all,“ Robbins told TwinCitiesDugout.com on Wednesday night. “We got down early, and we battled back, but just didn’t have enough to get the job done. We’ll get them tomorrow.“
Gaetti showed some good pop from his cleanup spot, smacking two doubles, while driving in a run. Steven Tolleson, New Britain’s shortstop and leadoff hitter, went 0-5 in the game, though he did drive in two runs.
The problem for New Britain in the game was their failure to hit in the clutch, as they combined to go 0-9 with runners in scoring position. Tolleson and Rene Tosoni, the team’s 1-2 hitters, combined to go 0-10, and top prospect Wilson Ramos went 0-5 as well.
Outfielder Juan Portes scored two runs for the Cats, Danny Valencia had a double, and Erik Lis went 1-3 with a run scored.
“I think we’ll be very good this season,” Robbins explained.
The Rock Cats return to action on Thursday, as they send right-hander Jay Rainville to the bump for Game 2 of this four-game set. Ryan Mullins will get the nod in Game 3, with Cole Devries closing out the series on Saturday.