If one word was needed to describe the Rock Cats’ past week, the term sporadic might be at the top of the list. After a day off last Monday, the Rock Cats traveled down to Harrisburg to take on the Senators for a three game series. Pitcher Steve Hirschfeld got the series off to a great start with another solid outing going seven innings while surrendering one earned run and striking out seven as the Rock Cats rallied in the late innings for a 4-1 victory. Leftfielder Chris Herrmann had two RBIs for the Rock Cats and closer Cole DeVries shut down the Senators in the final two innings for his ninth save of the season.
In what became a common theme for the week, rain forced Wednesdays’ game to Thursday setting the Rock Cats up for yet another doubleheader. Australian Liam Hendriks took the mound in the matinee game giving the team a six innings-three run performance while striking out six Senators in the process. However the Rock Cat bats could not provide enough support for him as they managed to score only once in a 3-1 loss. Because of excessive rain delays during the first game, the evening matchup (which was a makeup from the day prior) was forced to be postponed again and made up at a later date.
The Rock Cats then returned home for a crucial four game series with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats who New Britain is neck and neck with for first place in the Eastern Division. The series got off to a poor start Friday thanks to a shaky outing by starter Bobby Lanigan. Lanigan made it through just four innings and surrendering five earned runs which was enough for the Fisher Cats to seal a 6-2 victory. On the bright side, the Rock Cats bullpen finished off the final five innings giving up just one run and one hit and right fielder Evan Bigley hit his second home run of the season.
Mother Nature seemed to play as much a role in the Rock Cats’ games this week as some of the players as Saturday’s matchup against New Hampshire was also postponed because of wet, unplayable field conditions.
Sunday’s action was yet another doubleheader (making up for a postponed game in April) between the two teams. Struggling starter Deolis Guerra took the mound for the Rock Cats and chalked up a respectable outing for the home team. Guerra gave up three runs in five innings and left the game with a 4-3 lead. However, reliever Tyler Robertson surrendered two runs in the top of the sixth costing Guerra the win and setting himself up with a blown save and potential the loss. Thankfully, a big inning in the bottom of the seventh from the offense got those two runs back as outfielder Joe Benson connected for a two-run double and the Rock Cats won 6-5 in walk off fashion. Mike Holliman also connected with a two run homer for the Rock Cats.
Thirty minutes later, the teams took the field again for their second seven-inning game of the day this time with a considerably different outcome. The Rock Cats struggled mightily from the plate managing only one hit in six innings against New Hampshire starter Joel Carreno as they fell to the Fisher Cats in the series’ rubber game, 4-0. Steve Hirshfeld had another respectable outing but could not get the job done with one lone hit to back him up as he recorded his first loss of the season.
The rainy, sporadic week left the Rock Cats with a 24-16 record, knocking them down to second place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division but just two games back of the Fisher Cats with plenty of baseball still yet to be played this season. This week the Rock Cats stay in New Britain with a four game series against the Binghamton Mets before going back on the road this weekend for what will be an imperative series against the Fisher Cats.