MANCHESTER, N.H. - Kevin Nolan belted his fifth home run of the month and Jon Talley belted an eighth-inning grand slam to send the Fisher Cats (25-27) to a 12-3 win over the New Britain Rock Cats (24-27) on Monday afternoon. The victory earns the Fisher Cats a split of their four-game homestand over the holiday weekend.
Nolan contributed his offense early in the game, starting with the Fisher Cats behind 2-0 in the bottom of the first. New Hampshire loaded the bases for Nolan before a run scored on a wild pitch. Nolan followed with a productive groundout to the tie game at 2-2.
Two innings later, Nolan had a more glamorous hit. Brian Van Kirk began the inning with the second of his three walks on the day. Three batters later, Nolan took New Britain starter Alex Meyer (L; 2-3) deep to right field for a two-run shot to break the tie. The blast was Nolan's fifth of the season - all in the month of May - and raised his RBI total to 24 on the season.
The scored stayed close, 4-2, through to the seventh inning when the Fisher Cats added another run. Kevin Pillar and Van Kirk hit consecutive doubles in the seventh to push the lead to 5-2. An inning later, New Hampshire blew the game open.
The eighth-inning rally began with one out when Adam Loewen scored on a Kevin Ahrens double. With two outs, New Britain reliever Bruce Pugh lost the strike zone, walking Van Kirk and scoring Ahrens on a wild pitch before giving up a run-scoring double to Ryan Schimpf. Two more walks loaded the bases for Talley, who belted a grand slam for his first Double-A home run to cap off a seven-run inning and a 12-2 lead.
Ryan Tepera (W; 5-3) earned the win for the Fisher Cats, becoming the team's first five-game winner. Tyson Brummett allowed a run in the ninth, but pitched the final four innings to earn his first save of the season.
The Fisher Cats now head to Portland, Maine, for the start of a three-game series with the Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) on Tuesday night. Lefty Sean Nolin (2-0, 1.17) will start the opener of the series against Sea Dogs righty Matt Barnes (3-1, 4.50). Radio coverage of the game begins at 5:45 p.m. with Tom Gauthier and Charlie Sherman on the WGIR Fisher Cats Radio Network and www.nhfishercats.com.
The Fisher Cats will return home on Friday night to begin a three-game weekend series with the Binghamton Mets (New York Mets). The series features Atlas Fireworks on Friday and Saturday, and a Johnny Pesky bobblehead giveaway on Sunday courtesy of Northeast Delta Dental. Tickets are available at www.nhfishercats.com, at the Fisher Cats ticket office, and by calling (603) 641-2005.