Final: Fisher Cats 9, Fightin' Phils 0: Behind a solid effort from starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx, the Fisher Cats kick off their tenth season with a big shutout victory. John Tolisano and Ryan Schimpf supplied two-run long balls that both sailed far over the right field wall. Center fielder Kenny Wilson set the table nicely from the top of the order, going 3-for-5 with an RBI, run scored and stolen base. Bibens-Dirkx pitched six scoreless innings, striking out six to earn a win in his first start as a Fisher Cat.
After seven innings: The crowd has thinned quite a bit following Ryan Schimpf's two-run blast in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Fisher Cats an 8-0 lead. In the bottom of the seventh Ochinko hit a bomb into the power-gap in right center, scoring Glenn from first base with a double. New Hampshire has plated runners in five of the last six innings. Fisher Cats 9, Fightin' Phils 0
Bottom of the fourth inning: Kenny Wilson drove in Brad Glenn with a single to right. Glenn slid past the tag of Reading catcher Cameron Rupp and as Rupp was arguing the call with the umpire, the speed Wilson quietly advanced to second base. Wilson is 3-3 with an RBI and stolen base in his Fisher Cats debut. Fisher Cats 5, Fightin' Phils 0
Bottom of the second inning: The Fisher Cats strike first in the bottom half of the frame. Clint Robinson hit a long, wall-ball single to right and Ricardo Nanita reached after he was plunked in the arm with a pitch, setting a nice stage for the return of Nashua native Kevin Nolan, making his Double-A debut. After taking a strike, the first New Hampshire player to suit up for the Fisher Cats went opposite field off the right field wall for an RBI double. Sean Ochinko pushed Nanita home with a sac-fly to center, then one batter later John Tolisano, batting in the ninth spot, unloaded on a fastball, sending it over everything in right field for a two-run homer. Fisher Cats 4, Fightin' Phils 0.
Pregame: We open the On Deck season at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester as the host New Hampshire Fisher Cats welcome the newly renamed and re-branded Reading Fightin' Phils. What has now become a tradition since starting this journey a few years back, we flock north to see what the Double-A Blue Jays have in store for the upcoming season.
The Fightins', who will wear jerseys emblazoned with 'Baseballtown' across the front, are taking batting practice on a sun-drenched field, but a stiff wind blowing out to left and a quick glance at the calendar tells you all you need to know about where the weather will be by the time this one concludes.
David Buchanan SP
Austin Bibens-Dirkx SP
MiLB Notes: Biben-Dirkx will be making his first opening day start in his eighth season of professional baseball. He did make three appearances in the Eastern League last year while with the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals). He posted a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings with the Senators...Reading starter David Buchanan is making his first apperance since rupturing a tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand last June... Tomorrow night the Fightins' send top prospect Jesse Biddle to the mound against New Hampshire's Marcus Walden...Tonight's Greenville Drive season opener against the Charleston RiverDogs has been postponed due to inclement weather. Full Opening Day festivities have been bumped up to Friday...We will take the trip to Portland tomorrow to catch Brandon Workman against Trenton Thunder's Zach Nuding.
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