The Reading Phillies were wearing promotional uniforms with flames on their sleeves for "Harley Night", but there was nothing hot about their offense Saturday night. Reading managed just four hits against three New Hampshire pitchers in their 1-0 loss to the Fisher Cats. The loss drops the R-Phils to a must-win situation, trailing their best-of-five series with New Hampshire two games to one.
"We could have used some of those hits we had last night," said Reading manager Mark Parent, referring to the R-Phils 11-2 romp over New Hampshire in game two of the series. "We just never got it going tonight. We got a guy on early and then we hit into a double-play and we just never got going."
Austin Hyatt, who was named Reading’s Pitcher of the Year prior to the game, threw seven strong innings, giving up just three hits and one run, that was pieced together by the New Hampshire offense. Hyatt came into the fifth with a perfect game going, but with one out, back-to-back singles by Mike McDade and Kevin Howard put runners on first and third. Danny Perales then lifted a fly ball to left that Michael Spidale settled under and gunned toward home. The throw appeared it would beat McDade to the plate, but bounced on the grass in front of the plate and died, allowing New Hampshire to pick up the first run of the game.
The lack of offense was especially difficult since it ruined another strong outing from Hyatt. "That was about as good as Austin’s thrown. It shows how hard he’s worked this year. He just did a tremendous job tonight," said Parent.
New Hampshire starter Drew Hutchison went six innings, allowing just two hits and striking out six hitters along the way. The only trouble he encountered came in the sixth when he hit Troy Hanzawa with a 1-2 pitch. Spidale then bunted Hanzawa to second and he advanced to third on a ground ball by Ozzie Chavez to put a runner on third with two outs for Carlos Rivero. Rivero hit Hutchison’s 1-1 pitch on a line to deep center field, but former Phillies prospect Anthony Gose was able to go back to make the play and end the threat.
The only other runner to reach scoring position for Reading was Rivero who reached first on a strike out wild pitch. Another wild pitch allowed Rivero to go to second with two outs, but he was stranded there.
Bobby Korecky came on to pitch for the Fisher Cats in the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Michael Spidale, but Ozzie Chavez attempted to bunt him over to second and popped the bunt in the air leading to a force out of Spidale at second. Korecky then got Rivero to ground into a game-ending double-play to record his second save of the series against his former organization.
Perhaps Parent summed it up best. "It just wasn’t our day at the plate. It just wasn’t our day on the bases. That’s all you can say."