HARTFORD - Near freezing temperatures weren't enough to keep the New Hampshire Fisher Cats bats from heating up Thursday night, as the Toronto Blue Jays affiliate blanked the Hartford Yard Goats 6-0 at Dunkin' Donuts Park on Opening Night.
The 'Cats started the scoring in the third. With two outs and nobody on, top Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. scorched a line drive double over the head of the center fielder for his first Double-A hit. Second baseman Lourdes Gurriel followed with a double of his own in the next at-bat to put New Hampshire up 1-0.
In the fourth, Cavan Biggio ripped a hustle double then scored when Connor Panas stroked a single to left field, doubling New Hampshire's advantage.
A three-run fifth put the game out of reach. The Fisher Cats sent eight men to the plate - sparked by a lead-off walk and stolen base from Bo Bichette - and tallied three runs on three hits, including an RBI bunt single from Biggio.
On the mound, New Hampshire dominated Hartford's hitters. Starter Francisco Rios set the tone with four frames in which he struck out five and the bullpen picked up where he left off. Justin Shafer (W, 1-0), Craig Breslow, Dusty Isaacs and Jose Fernandez combined to whiff seven batters and did not let a runner reach third.
All nine starters got on base and eight had at least one hit. Gurriel paced the offense with a two for four showing that included two RBI and a run scored. Biggio and Panas had two hits and an RBI apiece.
The series continues tomorrow night in Hartford. RHP Jordan Romano is set to make his Double-A debut for the 'Cats while RHP Ryan Castellani will go for the Yard Goats. Radio coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on WGIR, the Fisher Cats Radio Network, and first pitch is
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.