MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Portland Sea Dogs held an advantage in the ninth, but the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (47-53) plated a pair in the final inning and walked off with the 3-2 win Sunday afternoon at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The Sea Dogs (64-37) led 2-1 from the fifth inning until two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when New Hampshire fired up its game-winning rally against Aaron Kurcz.
Pinch-hitters Andy Fermin and Matt Newman both drew two-out walks for the Cats. Dalton Pompey was next and shot an RBI single to right that plated Fermin and tied the game.
Jon Berti followed and singled to left field, which scored Newman and ended the game.
Both teams wasted no time and jumped on the board with a run apiece in the first inning.
Portland tallied its run, with two down, against New Hampshire starter Casey Lawrence. Sean Coyle singled and scored on a Dave Chester double down the line in left.
New Hampshire responded with an unearned run in bottom half of the inning against Portland’s Brian Johnson. Pompey began the game with a hit to right, which Shannon Wilkerson couldn’t handle cleanly, and the runner ended up at third with a single and two-base error. Jon Berti followed with a groundout to third and Pompey scored to tie it up.
The game remained even until the Sea Dogs slid in front with a run on three hits in the fifth. Ryan Dent stroked a double to left, was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Wilkerson’s single to right.
Johnson settled in after the first and retired nine in a row before Berti broke up the streak with a leadoff single in the fourth. Johnson faced the minimum in the inning thanks to Mike Brenly, who gunned down the runner attempting to steal second.
The left-hander threw a lot of pitches over his final two innings as the Fisher Cats loaded the bases with one down in the sixth. Johnson got Hobson to pop out to second on a first pitch fastball and Michael Crouse grounded out to end the threat and kept it a 2-1 Portland advantage.
Dayan Diaz took over for Johnson and made his Sea Dogs debut in the seventh inning. The righty gave up a leadoff single to Jack Murphy, but retired the next three men in order. In the eighth, Diaz gave up two base runners, but induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat. Kurcz (2-2) was charged with both the blown save, his second, and the loss.
Lawrence was equally as good as Johnson for New Hampshire. The righty gave up the two runs but went eight innings and retired the final eight men he faced in order. Dustin Antolin (4-4) picked up the win with a scoreless ninth.