TRENTON, N.J. - Coming into the 2014 season, there wasn't a more ballyhooed pitcher in the Blue Jays organization - at any level - than Aaron Sanchez. On Thursday night, Sanchez showed why he deserves that attention. The 21-year-old stifled the Trenton Thunder (0-1) over five innings to lead the Fisher Cats (1-0) to a 6-0 season-opening win.
Sanchez began his night with a quick and easy first inning, netting a soft line out and a few groundballs. He came back with another perfect frame in the second, recording two strikeouts.
A lead-off walk ended his perfect effort in the third, and a two-out single snapped a no-hit bid, but Sanchez buckled down to strand a pair of runners in the frame. He issued a one-out walk in the fourth before retiring the final five batters he faced.
The Fisher Cats scored the only runs Sanchez would need in the second inning. With one out, Kevin Nolan singled home Brad Glenn for a 1-0 lead. With two outs, the Fisher Cats loaded the bases, setting up Kenny Wilson for a three-run triple into the right field corner.
New Hampshire added an insurance in the fifth thanks to an RBI from Glenn. With men at the corners, Glenn rolled one to third, setting up a potential double play. However, Andy Burns take-out slide at second base was effective, allowing Glenn to reach and Wilson to score to make it a 5-0 advantage.
The Fisher Cats bullpen picked up the slack over the final innings. Casey Lawrence worked two effortless frames before Scott Gracey closed down shop in the eighth and ninth.
New Hampshire compiled ten hits as a club, including A.J. Jimenez' RBI single in the ninth. Jimenez, Wilson, Schimpf, and Nolan all had two hits each. Jon Berti added a triple and scored on Jimenez' single in the ninth inning.
The Fisher Cats have won three straight opening day games, and have won the last two via shutout. They'll try for a 2-0 start on Friday night behind the right arm of Deck McGuire. He'll be opposed by Trenton RHP Jeremy Bleich. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Tom Gauthier has the call beginning at 6:45 p.m. on WGIR 610 AM and www.nhfishercats.com.
The Fisher Cats will open the home portion of the schedule on Thursday night against the Binghamton Mets at 6:35 p.m. The first 2,500 fans will receive a magnet schedule courtesy of The Elliot Orthopaedics. To purchase tickets, visit www.nhfishercats.com.