(Manchester, NH) - In a game where Trenton ran out of available pitchers after 11 innings, two position players managed to extend the game until two outs in the 15th before the New Hampshire Fisher Cats ultimately scored and won, 5-4, in the longest game of the season Friday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
Kenny Wilson's walk-off infield single off of Jose Gil, who is normally a catcher, plated Ryan Schimpf from second base with the winning run to end the 4 hour, 55 minute marathon. Neither team had scored since the third inning before Wilson's game winner.
The Thunder (65-59) dropped their second-straight one-run contest, and third-place New Hampshire (60-63) moved within 4.5 games of Trenton for the Eastern Division Wild Card spot with 18 games remaining in the regular season. The two teams play again on Saturday and Sunday.
Utility infielder/outfielder Casey Stevenson entered on the mound for Trenton in the bottom of the 12th and pitched two scoreless innings to keep the game moving. He did not allow a hit. Gil (0-1) then took over in the 14th and worked out of a two-on, no-out jam with a double play and a strikeout.
In the 15th, Gil walked Schimpf to leadoff the inning. After a sacrifice bunt advanced Schimpf to second, Gil induced a flyout from John Tolisano for the second out of the inning. But Wilson followed and hit a soft ground ball into shallow right that was picked up by the out-going second baseman Jose Pirela.
Schimpf rounded third base as Pirela picked up the ball, and realizing he had no play at first base Pirela wheeled and threw off-balanced to home plate. Schimpf slid home safely just before the tag of the catcher Francisco Arica to end the game.
Trenton squandered early leads of 3-0 and 4-1, as the Fisher Cats connected on back-to-back home runs from Gabe Jacobo (two-run) and Kevin Nolan (solo) off of Rigoberto Arrebato in the bottom of the third that tied the score at 4.
After the Thunder collected four runs on eight hits in the first three innings against New Hampshire starter Marcus Walden, the Trenton offense was shut out on only five hits over the final 12 innings.
Game two of the series is slated for a 7:05 pm first pitch on Saturday night. Thunder left-hander Nik Turley (9-6, 3.74) will pitch against right-hander Marcus Stroman (6-4, 3.22). Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.