MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Portland Sea Dogs took home their third one-run victory of the road trip with a 4-3 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the series opener Friday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The win sends the Sea Dogs to 32-games above .500 for the second time in franchise history, the first since Nov. 24, 1995.
The 21st game of the season series headed to the sixth inning knotted at 2-2, before Portland scored a pair and jumped back in front for good.
Mike Miller and Sean Coyle began the inning with back-to-back singles to center, firing up the rally. Keury De La Cruz followed and hit a low liner that caromed off the foot of the pitcher Casey Lawrence and into right field for an RBI single. Michael Almanzar hit into a 5-4-3 double play, which plated Coyle and doubled the Portland lead to 4-2.
Keith Couch was on the hill for Portland and worked into the seventh with the two-run lead. The righty faced his toughest inning in the seventh, giving up a run on two hits, but he battled back to strike out both Melky Mesa and Andy Burns, stranding a pair and keeping Portland in front 4-3.
Robby Scott took over for Couch in the eighth and retired the side in order on three straight strikeouts, bridging the gap to Noe Ramirez.
Ramirez struck out the first man he faced, but gave up a double to Matt Newman, which put the tying run in scoring position. The righty buckled down and induced two 6-3 groundouts to end the game and earned his 15th save of the season.
Couch (8-1) took home the win, tossing seven strong innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits; he walked two and struck out five. Lawrence (9-8) gave up four runs on six hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.
The Fisher Cats jumped on the board in the first inning against Couch and the Sea Dogs. Jon Berti began the rally by reaching on an error to the shortstop Ryan Dent. He then went first to third on a single by Mesa and scored on Burns’ RBI fielder’s choice.
Lawrence was on the mound for New Hampshire and began the game by retiring the first five men he faced in a row. Stefan Welch stepped in with two down in the second and snuck a solo homer down the line in right, his seventh, and the Sea Dogs’ pulled even at 1-1.
Both teams traded a run in the fourth and headed to the fifth tied at 2-2. Stefan Welch hit a two-out single and plated Keury De La Cruz from second to give Portland the brief 2-1 lead.
New Hampshire’s K.C. Hobson responded in the bottom half with a run-scoring single, which scored Brad Glenn, and tied the game at 2-2.