PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs (12-6) and Trenton Thunder (13-8) opened up the three-game series with a barn-burner for the ages that ended 14-10 in favor of the Thunder, Friday night at Hadlock field. The game featured 24 runs, 29 hits, and seven multiple-run innings combined.
The teams traded big innings throughout the night, but it was in the late frames where the game was finally decided.
Portland trailed Trenton 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh, but came back and pulled ahead with a two-run inning. Sean Coyle worked a leadoff walk against Manny Barreda and Henry Ramos followed with a single to center. Mason Williams misplayed the ball in center and allowed Coyle to come around to score and tie the game.
Taylor Garrison took over for Barreda, struck out Matt Spring and intentionally walked Peter Hissey to get to Shannon Wilkerson. He drove home Hissey with another single up the middle and gave the ‘Dogs the 9-8 lead.
Trenton bounced back off the mat in the next inning and took a 10-9 lead with a two-run eighth. Williams atoned for his error with a single off of Aaron Kurcz that drove in a pair and gave the visitors the lead.
The game of cat-and-mouse continued as Portland tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Welch hit an RBI groundout to second base that plated Mookie Betts. Josh Pinder took over on the mound and induced a lineout off the bat of Ramos for the out that ended the threat.
Kurcz (0-1) was sent back out in the ninth, with the game tied, but he proceeded to load the bases with three walks before he handed it over to Michael Olmsted. The burly righty threw a slider that hit Taylor Dugas and brought in the go-ahead run for Trenton.
Olmsted battled back to strike out Tyson Blaser for the second out, but couldn’t get by the shortstop Ali Castillo. Castillo worked the count full and hit a bases-loaded double to the wall in left, with the runners going, that plated three and upped the lead to 14-10.
Portland had the final chance against Pinder (2-0) in the bottom of the ninth, but went quietly in the in the final inning and fell in the opener of the series.
Way back in the first inning, the Thunder came out and lived up to their moniker with a four-run frame. Portland’s starter Mickey Pena retired the first two in order, but walked Rob Segedin to extend the inning. Kyle Roller followed and hit his first of two homers on the night to the right of center that put Trenton on the board 2-0.
Rob Refsnyder and Dan Fiorito hit back-to-back singles and advanced to third and second on a wild pitch by Pena. Yeral Sanchez drove in the pair and doubled the visitors’ lead to 4-0 with a single to center.
Portland was up to the challenge and matched the Thunder’s big inning with a four-run first of its own. Mookie Betts began the inning with a single to left, which not only sparked the rally, but upped his on-base streak to 47 straight regular season games.
Trenton’s starter Matt Tracy balked Betts to second, and two hitters later Travis Shaw plated him with a single to right. The comeback continued when Sean Coyle doubled home Shaw to make it 4-2. Henry Ramos capped off the inning with a two-run double to the wall in right that scored both Stefan Welch and Coyle to tie the game at 4-4.
Tracy delivered a scoreless second, but ran into Matt Spring in the third. With one out and Ramos at first, the catcher crushed an inside fastball and hit it out of Hadlock for a two-run homer and gave Portland the 6-4 lead.
The ‘Dogs held the 6-4 lead into the fifth, but the big bats of the Thunder bounced back to put them in front with a four run inning. Ali Castillo and Mason Williams reached on consecutive singles against Mickey Pena to begin the frame.
Ben Gamel flied to center for the first out of the inning, which allowed Segedin to step in with one out and the two on. Pena fell behind in the count 2-0, and the third baseman didn’t miss the next one and put it over the wall in right for a three-run shot to give Trenton the 7-6 lead.
Roller followed suit of Segedin and hit his second home run of the night, this a solo shot to the left of center, against the southpaw and upped the lead to 8-6. Pena regrouped and retired the final two in order to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Portland pulled back to within one when Wilkerson walked with the bases loaded and made it 8-7.
The Portland Sea Dogs and Trenton Thunder get set to play game two of the three game series Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm from Hadlock Field. The ‘Dogs are scheduled to send RHP Mike Augliera (2-1, 3.79) to the hill against Trenton’s LHP Jeremy Bleich (2-2, 5.40). Radio coverage begins at 5:40 PM on the U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network and www.seadogs.com. Coverage on MiLB.TV kicks-off at 5:55 p.m.