It's a simple formula, really. Have your pitching staff hold down the other team's offense, while your offense tees off on the opposing pitchers. If teams could use that formula every time out, they'd be pretty well assured of success. For the Reading Phillies, the formula worked perfectly Friday night as they exploded for an 11-2 win over New Hampshire to even their best-of-five series at 1-1.
J.C. Ramirez threw six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and walking two. Ramirez didn't give up a hit until the sixth inning and three Reading relievers were able to keep the New Hampshire offense at bay over the final three innings to get the win for Ramirez.
New Hampshire starter Nestor Molina had made just five starts at Double-A this season, but posted a 0.41 ERA in those starts. The game had all the makings of a pitcher's duel that would last all night, but Reading figured out Molina in the third and hit him around for six runs. Tuffy Gosewisch led off the third with a double and with the game looking like a low-scoring affair, Reading manager Mark Parent was intent on getting every run he could and had Tim Kennelly bunt Gosewisch over to third. From there, Troy Hanzawa doubled to drive in Gosewisch to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. With Hanzawa on third, Reading used back-to-back singles, an error, a passed ball and a walk to take a 3-0 lead and load the bases with two outs. Derrick Mitchell turned out to be the biggest bat in the R-Phils attack and delivered a triple to clear the bases and put Reading up 6-0. Molina then struck out Gosewisch to end the inning, but the damage had already been done and Molina wouldn't return for the fourth inning.
B.J. LaMura came on in the fourth and was greeted by Kennelly who singled to right to open the inning. LaMura then threw wildly to first base on a pickoff attempt, allowing Kennelly to go to second. After striking out the next two hitters, it looked like LaMura would work out of the jam, but Ozzie Chavez singled to right to drive home Kennelly and put Reading up 7-0.
With that buffer, Ramirez was breezing through the Fisher Cats lineup and wound up striking out six hitters in his six innings of work.
The Reading offense went back to work with one out in the seventh. Three straight singles loaded the bases to chase reliever Rey Gonzalez from the mound in favor of Evan Crawford. Matt Rizzotti drove in a run with a ground ball, bringing Mitchell back to the plate with runners on second and third. Mitchell doubled to drive in two more runs and Gosewisch followed with another double to bring home Mitchell and make it an 11-0 game.
The two teams will play game three Saturday night in Reading, starting at 7:05. Austin Hyatt (12-6, 3.85) gets the start for Reading, with Drew Hutchison (3-0, 1.20) going for New Hampshire. Game four would be Sunday night, also in Reading.