NEW BRITAIN, May 3 – Perhaps, we should beginning calling them Rally Cats.
On Saturday, New Britain erased a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to beat Richmond by two runs. On Sunday, the Rock Cats rallied from a four-run deficit to earn an 8-6 win over the visiting Flying Squirrels at New Britain Stadium.
The Rock Cats not only swept Richmond but they won for the 14th time in the last 16 games and handed the Squirrels their 15th consecutive defeat.
New Britain (16-7) was led by shortstop Trevor Story, who had a single, double and a home run. Jayson Langfels had a pinch-hit, two-RBI triple to tie the game in the seventh inning. He scored the go-ahead run on Juan Ciriaco’s suicide squeeze bunt.
Richmond (3-17) led 5-1 in the fifth before Story’s solo home run cut the lead to four. New Britain looked as if they would mount a comeback in the sixth as they loaded the bases with two outs. But Richmond reliever Joan Gregorio struck out New Britain’s Mike Tauchman to end the threat.
The Squirrels extended their lead to four in the top of the seventh only to see New Britain rally dramatically in the seventh with five runs.
New Britain started to chip away early, picking up runs on a single by Tommy Murphy and an RBI double off the right field wall from CF David Dahl. Murphy’s base hit scored Story, who doubled earlier in the inning. With the score 6-4, Richmond called in LHP Josh Osich from the bullpen, who uncorked a wild pitch to move the baserunners up to second and third. Pinch hitter Jayson Langfels then drove a ball over the head of CF Daniel Carbonell that drove in both runners, tying the game 6-6.
Second baseman Juan Ciriaco then laid down a perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze attempt as Langfels was charging down the line, scoring the fifth run of the inning and put the Cats’ up 7-6.
Story drove Osich’s 2-0 offering high off the wall in left to lead off the bottom of the eighth. The shortstop was chugging for three but held up at second base to ensure a runner in scoring position. LF Tyler Massey laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Story to third and it was a fielder’s choice grounder from Dahl that gave New Britain the always-appreciated insurance run.
Rock Cats relievers RHP Gus Schlosser and LHP Tyler Ybarra combined on four innings of one-run baseball, with Schlosser earning the win (4-2) and Ybarra closed the door on the two-inning save, his third of the season.
New Britain welcomes the Harrisburg Senators, the Washington Senators Double A affiliate, to New Britain for a three-game series beginning on Monday at 6:35 p.m. RHP Matt Flemer gets the call for the Rock Cats and Harrisburg will send RHP Austin Voth to the hill.
NOTES: The Rock Cats had a very nice April going 13-7 and ending the month in first place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division… New Britain finished the month by winning 11 of the final 13 games to build a half game lead on second place Reading… The Cats’ were paced by Noel Cuevas, who led the EL in batting (.367) and Trevor Story, who finished second in EL in batting (.361) and led the EL in RBI, slugging, on-base, total bases and ended April tied for the EL lead with four home runs and 26 hits… Shane Carle led the EL with 4 wins and Austin House was the EL leader with 6 saves. …Overall the Rock Cats are off to their best start since 2012 when New Britain began the season at 12-5… The Rock Cats won their first five home games of the season and are 10-1 at home.