MANCHESTER, N.H., August 31 – It’s been difficult for the Hartford Yard Goats to beat the New Hampshire Fisher Cats this season. The Cats, who are in first place in the Eastern Division, had won 16 of the previous 18 games between the two teams.
But on Friday night, the Goats received strong pitching from starting pitcher Evan Grills and closer Matt Pierpont earned his 31st save of the season to lead the Yard Goats to a 3-1 Eastern League victory over the Fisher Cats at Dental Delta Stadium.
Grills threw six scoreless innings and Pierpont recorded a four-out save to earn his Eastern League-leading 31st save as Hartford (62-71) won for the third straight evening.
The Yard Goats scored two runs in the first inning on four straight singles off Fisher Cats starter T.J. Zeuch.
Hartford’s Sam Hilliard began the one-out rally with an infield single followed by a hit from Brian Mundell. Roberto Ramos then cracked a single into center field, scoring Hilliard from second base and giving Hartford a 1-0 lead. Drew Weeks kept the line moving with a solid single to center scoring Mundell from second base to make it 2-0. Ramos was erased trying to go from first to third on the same play.
Meanwhile, Grills was terrific over six innings of work to record his second win in three starts. He pitched around a two out double in the first inning and went on to retire 11 consecutive batters from the first to fifth innings. The lefty from Whitby, Canada, sat down 18 of 21 batters faced and registered six strikeouts.
The Fisher Cats scored their only run in the seventh inning on Pat Cantwell’s sacrifice fly to make it a 2-1 game.
Former Yard Goat Forrest Wall reached on an infield single in the eighth inning and stole second base. Pierpont was called upon in the eighth inning and struck out Bo Bichette to end the inning. The Yard Goats scored a run on a wild pitch in the ninth inning and Pierpont worked around two singles to record his 31st save of the season.
It was the first game of a four game weekend series, the final series for the Yard Goats this season. The victory snapped a seven game losing skid against the Fisher Cats.