NEWARK – Josh Phelps belted a solo homer in the top of the seventh inning to snap a tie ballgame as the Bridgeport Bluefish defeated the Newark Bears 7-6 victory in the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium. The Bluefish took the first game 16-6.
Phelps’ solo homer off Bears reliever Nick Renault (0-1) was the third homer of the second game for the Bluefish. Victor Mercedes also belted a two-run homer and Adam Greenberg added a solo shot, which lead off the game. Phelps also had a two-run double to key a four-run fifth inning rally for the Bluefish. The Bears also went to long ball in the second game as James Cooper drilled a two-run homer with Sandy Madera and Eric Munson each putting out solo shots.
Chris Rivera (7-3) pitched one inning of scoreless relief of Esteban Yan to earn the victory for Bridgeport. Jorge Julio pitched the seventh inning to earn his Atlantic League-leading 27th save. For the Bears, Tim Raines, Jr. and Brian Barton had two hits each. Brian “Doc” Holliday was the starting pitcher for the Bears and he allowed six runs over four and two-third innings.
In the opener, the Bluefish enjoyed three big innings, scoring four times in the top of the first, then blowing the game open with a six-run barrage in the top of the fifth and putting it away with a four-run seventh. In the top of the first, Danny Putnam and Steve Moss ripped back-to-back homers on two-straight pitches to give Bridgeport a 2-0 lead. The ‘Fish scored two unearned runs against Bears starter Bob Zimmermann (8-6 overall, 1-5 with Newark) on a two-out error.
The Bears cut the lead in half in the home half of the frame on Sandy Madera’s two-run homer. Newark tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Manny Mejia and an RBI double from Randy Gress and the game was all-square at 4.
Bridgeport responded and plated six runs in the top of the fifth inning. Putnam added his second home run of the game to start the frame, which saw 11 batters come to the plate. The big blow came off the bat of former Bear Tom Pennino, who delivered a bases-clearing double that pushed the lead to 9-4.
The Bears received back-to-back homers from Eric Munson and Isaiah Kaaihue in the home sixth inning to again cut the lead in half at 12-6. The ‘Fish again came right back as they added four runs in the top of the seventh, two coming home on a double by Hiram Bocachica. The six-run rally made a winner of left-hander Luis Gonzalez (7-3), who scattered eight hits and six runs over six innings.
The quick, three-game series between Newark and Bridgeport wraps up Wednesday night. Game time is set for 6:35 p.m., with the gates of Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium opening at 5:35 p.m. Wednesday is also “Kids Eat Free,” presented by Dr. Thomas Haveron. All kids 12 and under (with a paid adult) get to eat free at all concession stands throughout the ballpark.
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