PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Sea Dogs smacked three homers and used a four-run eighth to come back and down the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 7-6 in front of a sellout crowd of 7,368 Sunday at Hadlock Field.
The win clinched the series in favor of the Sea Dogs (62-34) and upped the season series to 10-4 in their favor.
Portland headed into the eighth inning trailing 6-3, but plated four runs and took the lead for good against the Fisher Cats’ bullpen. Catcher Blake Swihart fired up the scoring machine with a solo shot to left-center against lefty Tyler Ybarra, his 10th of the season and brought Portland to within two at 6-4.
Michael Almanzar reached on an error by the first baseman KC Hobson and moved to second before David Chester plated him with an RBI single to center and pulled the Sea Dogs to a 6-5 deficit.
Ybarra’s (4-4) night came to a close after he allowed the fourth straight man to reach on a walk to Jonathan Roof. Randy Boone came on and got one out before he walked pinch-hitter Stefan Welch and loaded the bases for Heiker Meneses.
Meneses connected for a single to center, which drove home two and gave Portland the lead, 7-6, for the first time since the fourth.
Pete Ruiz (1-0) finished off the Fisher Cats and earned the win with a perfect ninth inning.
Portland jumped out to a 1-0 lead, against Richard Bleier, two batters into the bottom of the first inning. Peter Hissey began the game with a single and was driven home on Shannon Wilkerson’s double to left-center.
Down 1-0 in the fourth, the Fisher Cats (44-51) stormed back with two homers and took a 5-1 lead against Mike McCarthy and the Sea Dogs. Andy Burns began the inning with an infield single and KC Hobson followed with a line drive, two-run shot, into the U.S. Cellular Pavilion, putting the Cats in front 2-1.
The inning continued when Derrick Chung doubled and was moved to third on a one-out single by Andy Fermin before Jon Berti stepped in and delivered a three-run homer over the video board in left-center and put New Hampshire in front 5-1.
Portland began to mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of a two-out mammoth solo homer over the Maine Monster off the bat of David Chester, which brought Portland to within three at 5-2. The homer off of Bleier was the fourth of the season for Chester in a Sea Dogs’ uniform.
In the fifth, Wilkerson crushed a two-out solo homer of his own and pulled Portland to within 5-3.
New Hampshire got another run off Ruiz, and upped the lead to 6-3, in the seventh when Derrick Chung singled home Andy Burns who tripled with one out.
McCarthy made it through the first five innings and gave up the five runs on nine hits; he walked three and struck out two. Ruiz allowed one run on three hits in relief, didn’t walk anyone and struck out two.
New Hampshire used five pitchers in the game. Bleier matched McCarthy and went the first five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, a walk and five strikeouts. Blake McFarland and Dustin Antolin pitched scoreless frames, before Ybarra trotted out for the eighth.