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Fernandez helps Yard Goats beat New Hampshire in home opener, 10-5

Hartford’s Tyler Nevin, left, and Bret Boswell (4) celebrate with Vince Fernandez after Fernandez belted a three-run home run in Thursday’s 10-5 Eastern League win over New Hampshire.

HARTFORD, April 11 – The Hartford Yard Goats found home a much more comfortable place than on the road. The Yard Goats had a season-high 14 hits and put 10 runs across the plate to win their home opener Thursday night with a 10-5 Eastern League victory over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

The Yard Goats stumbled out of the gate by winning just one of their first seven games of the season in Richmond and in Harrisburg, scoring just 10 runs in the those seven road contests.

It was a different story at Dunkin’ Donuts Park as outfielder Vince Fernandez hit his first Eastern League home run, had a pair of doubles, knocked in four runs and scored three to lead the Yard Goats (2-6). He was 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk.

Shortstop Alan Trejo was 3-for-4 with a double and run scored while DH Arvicent Perez had two hits and two RBI in his first Eastern League start of the year. Perez was called up to Hartford on Tuesday.

Arvicent Perez slides into home with a run in the second inning of Thursday night’s Eastern League win over New Hampshire.

“I thought we hit well with two strikes,” said Yard Goats manager Warren Schaeffer.

Leading by one, Hartford cemented their lead in the third inning with some clutch hitting. With one out, Bret Boswell doubled to left field with two strikes on him. With two strikes on him, Tyler Nevin singled to right field to put runners at first and third base.

And with two strikes on him, Fernandez blasted a three-run home run to centerfield to give the Yard Goats a commanding 7-3 lead.

Manuel Melendez is thrown out trying to steal third base in Thursday night’s season opening game at Dunkin Donuts Park. Melenedez slid over the bag and was tagged out by New Hampshire third baseman Nash Knight (10).

New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Yard Goats rebounded with four runs in the second inning. Fernandez’s RBI double tied the game at 1-1 and Perez’s one-out RBI single gave Hartford a 2-1 lead. Willie Abreu drove in a run with a sacrifice fly while Manuel Melendez had a RBI double for a 4-1 lead.

The Fisher Cats (3-4) had 14 hits but were held scoreless over the final 5 2/3 innings. Hartford reliever Heath Holder registered his first win, pitching 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief with three strike outs and one walk.  Yard Goat relievers Alexander Guillen and Ben Bowden also combined for three scoreless innings.  Hartford pitchers struck out 13.

New Hampshire was led by former Hartford Yard Goat Forrest Wall, who had a double and two singles.  Kevin Smith added a home run, double and single, while Nash Knight had three hits.

NOTES: The game was a sellout but there were plenty of empty seats around the ballpark. … It was the third Opening Day contest at Dunkin’ Donuts Park and the first time that the Yard Goats came away with a victory. … New Hampshire, which won the Eastern League title a year ago, went 11-0 against Hartford at Dunkin’ Donuts Park last summer. … The Fisher Cats are 16-5 in Hartford. … The series continues Friday night with a 7:05 p.m. start.

Hartford 10, New Hampshire 5
At Hartford
New Hampshire (3-4)       102  200  000 – 5-14-0
Hartford (2-6)                     043  110  01x – 10-14-1
Perez, Case (4), Saucedo (6), McCelland (8) and Mineo; Gold, Holder (4), A. Guillen (7), Bowden (8) and Serven; WP: Holder (1-0), LP: Perez (0-1); 2B: Smith (NH), Spanberger (NH), Wall (NH), Boswell (H), Trejo (H), Melendez (H), Fernandez (H) 2, HR: Smith (NH), Fernandez (H)

Complete boxscore

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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