Best Games - A Baker's Dozen Times 3
Stroman and Nolin Tie Franchise Record with 13 Strikeouts
This year marked the 10th anniversary of Fisher Cats baseball in Manchester, and Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin each did something that hadn't been done since year one, and Stroman did it twice.
Gustavo Chacin was a major part of the 2004 Eastern League champions, and if a 16-2 record in the regular season doesn't prove that, then maybe his 13 strikeouts on September 8 against Binghamton in a playoff game does.
From that day through July 1 of this year, no other Fisher Cats pitcher had equaled Chacin's mark. In the span of five weeks, it was tied once, then twice, and then a third time as top prospects Stroman and Nolin took aim.
It began on July 2 in New Britain with Marcus Stroman on the hill, striking out the side in the 1st inning. He would get two more in the both the 2nd and 3rd, but in the 4th he allowed three straight hits and two runs for a 2-0 deficit before ending the frame with another strikeout.
A third Rock Cat run would score in the 5th on three more hits (and no strikeouts), but Stroman bounced back to strike out the side in order in the 6th. He fanned two more in the seventh before his pitch count, standing at 99, removed him from the game having tied Chacin's record. Stroman would wind up as the tough-luck loser, as the offense could only score one run in the defeat.
Four starts later, which followed up an 11-strikeout performance on July 24, Stroman was on the mound on July 31 in Bowie. He began that game by striking out the side in the first inning before allowing a two-run homer in the second. Unlike his start in New Britain, the offense was up to the task equaling the game in the third before taking a 5-2 into the bottom of the fourth.
That lead was more than Stroman needed, as he punched out two more in each of the next four innings. Like his start on July 2, he got the first two on strikes in the 7th, but at 105 pitches, wasn't given the opportunity to break the record. At least this time he was the winning pitcher in a 6-2 win.
A week later Sean Nolin was on the bump at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, playing those same Bowie Baysox. Just like Stroman, he struck out the side in the 1st inning, and then did the same in the second, putting the thought of a record strikeout performance into the minds of a crowd of 6,415.
Nolin continued with just one strikeout in the third, but his team took the lead thanks to an Adam Loewen groundout. Three more strikeouts followed in the fourth, giving him 10 on the game, and he followed with two more to begin the 5th. Three of the next four batters reached before Nolin finally got lucky No. 13 in the top of the sixth inning.
Nolin completed six full innings, but left the game in a 1-1 tie. He would not factor into the decision of the game, which wound up being a dandy. In the bottom of the 11th, still tied at one, Nashua's Kevin Nolan singled in Andy Burns for a 2-1 win.