PORTLAND, Maine –– The Portland Sea Dogs (15-7) offense came in averaging eight runs per game on the homestand and it exceeded that in the 10-2 win over the Reading Fightin Phils (11-11) Tuesday night at Hadlock Field. The win marks the second in a row, and third on the homestand for the ‘Dogs.
The Sea Dogs jumped on Reading’s starter Mike Nesseth with two down in the first. Travis Shaw hit a single to left and Stefan Welch crushed a two-run homer into the Portland bullpen and plated the first two runs of the game.
Nesseth (0-1) settled down and retired the next five in a row before he gave up a single to Mookie Betts in the third. The base hit extended his on-base streak to 51 straight regular season games and 56 straight overall. The ‘Dogs went quietly in the rest of the third frame, but exploded for seven runs in the fourth.
The Reading starter was sent back out for the fourth, and the Sea Dogs took advantage. With one out Blake Swihart tripled to dead center, his second of the season, and began the rally. Two batters later, Henry Ramos tripled home two runs, doubled the ‘Dogs’ advantage to 4-0 and ended Nesseth’s night on the mound.
Ryan O’Sullivan took over for the starter and induced a groundout off the bat of Heiker Meneses before he walked Shannon Wilkerson. Betts was next and barreled up a fastball into the netting above the Maine Monster for the 3-Run homer as Portland lead 7-0.
The seven-run fourth inning continued as Deven Marrero reached on an error to the third baseman in front of Travis Shaw. The designated hitter took the first pitch he saw from O’Sullivan to right, out of Hadlock, for a two-run homer and upped the lead to 9-0.
All of the runs were in support of Keith Couch who had an equally impressive night on the mound. Like Mike McCarthy the night before, Couch retired the first nine in a row, and continued to be perfect through the first five and two-third innings.
The streak of 17-straight hitters retired was broken up by the second baseman Edgar Duran with a single up the middle. Couch induced a groundball out to retire the side in the sixth.
Portland tacked on the 10th and final run in sixth on an RBI double by Marrero that scored Betts from first and made it 10-0.
Couch (4-0) returned for the seventh, but allowed the first five batters to reach, two to score, on four hits and a hit batter. He battled back to retire both Logan Moore and Anthony Hewitt on strikeouts to end his outing. He threw 102 pitches, 74 for strikes and struck out seven.
Noe Ramirez pitched out of any further damage in the seventh and delivered a perfect eighth, before handing the reigns over to Miguel Celestino in the ninth. Celestino gave up a leadoff single, but retired the next three in order to close out the game.
The Portland Sea Dogs and get set to take on the Reading Fightin Phils in game three of a four-game series Wednesday night at 6:00 pm from Hadlock Field. The ‘Dogs are scheduled to send LHP Mickey Pena (1-0, 5.60) to the hill against Reading’s RHP Severino Gonzalez (2-1, 4.28). 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.