MANCHESTER, N.H. - K.C Hobson homered, Matt Newman had three hits, and Fisher Cats pitchers struck out 17 hitters in a 6-0 season-opening win over the New Britain Rock Cats on Friday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
After waiting through a snow-out on Thursday, and then an hour rain delay on Friday, the Fisher Cats hit the ground running in the first inning. With one out, five consecutive hits were delivered, highlighted by a two-run double from Jake Fox for the first runs of the season against New Britain starter Ryan Carpenter (L; 0-1).
The Fisher Cats stranded runners in the third and fourth, but got on the board again in the fifth. Andy Burns started the frame with a walk, the second time he reached on the night. With one out, Hobson blasted a homer to right field to push the advantage to 4-0. The homer was Hobson's sixth in a Fisher Cats uniform after he tallied five for New Hampshire in 2014.
The run support was more than enough for starting pitcher Matt Boyd and the bullpen. Boyd started the game throwing strikes, recording six strikeouts over the first seven batters. He didn't allow a hit until the third inning, and no Rock Cat reached second base until the fourth.
Entering the fifth, Boyd was looking for his tenth strikeout, but would up walking a pair of runners to get to his pitch limit on the night. He turned the ball over to Danny Barnes (W; 1-0), who proceeded to strike out the next two hitters to end the New Britain rally.
Barnes worked 1.2 scoreless before Luis Perez, Dustin Antolin, and Blake McFarland all worked scoreless frames to secure the win. McFarland struck out the side to finish the ninth inning.
Hobson finished the game 2-4 with the home run and two RBI. Matt Newman singled in the fourth, doubled in the sixth, and then added an RBI triple in the eighth to complete a three-hit night. Jorge Flores brought Newman home to cap the scoring with a groundout in that same inning. As an offense, the Fisher Cats racked up 13 hits as eight of nine starters collected at least one.
The series continues on Saturday at 4:35pm. It's All-You-Can-Eat Day presented by Rock 101 and fans can play USA Subs Baseball Bingo. Tickets are available by visiting www.nhfishercats.com, stopping by the Fisher Cats ticket office, or by calling (603) 641-2005.
RHP Taylor Cole starts for the Fisher Cats against New Britain LHP Carlos Hernandez. Coverage with Tom Gauthier begins at 4:15 p.m. on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and atwww.nhfishercats.com.