Sea Dogs rally, Fightin Phils beat in 11
The Portland Sea Dogs came into Tuesday’s game against the Reading Fightin’ Phils in offensive funk, scoring just nine points in six games in last week’s series against the Somerset Patriots. The Sea Dogs’ bats came to life on Tuesday as they went 12 hits to claim a 5-4 win in 11 innings in front of 2,388 fans at Hadlock Field.
Christian Koss drove in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 11th, especially in center field to score Elih Marrero, who started the inning at second base.
“I was just trying to see something in the area. He kind of had me chasing a few siders, but it kind of worked to my advantage because I could see what that break was like,” Koss said. “That last one was just a bit higher than the others and I was able to take him out (in the middle).”
The teams traded runs in the 10th inning. The single with a withdrawal from Wendell Rijo at the start of the 10th marked Aldrem Corredor. In the bottom of the inning, Nick Sogard’s two-out single out to right field scored Izzy Wilson to tie the game at 4.
The Sea Dogs tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Tyler Dearden chose left field, scoring David Hamilton. Devlin Granberg was sent off at home trying to score the winning run, sending the game into extra innings.
“Two outs, he’s going contact right there,” Sea Dogs manager Chad Epperson said. “He’s got to pick up the ball clean, he’s got to hit the cut, the shortstop has to make a good throw, and the receiver has to catch it and apply the tag, and they’ve done all of that. I think if I’m again in this situation I would do it again.
Portland starting pitcher Victor Santos was strong, allowing four hits in six innings, striking out five and walking none. The problem for Santos was that two of those hits were homers. Left fielder Corredor hit a two-run homer to center field to give the Fightin Phils a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning. Center fielder Jhailyn Ortiz led the start of the third for Reading with a home run to left center for a 3-1 lead.
“(Santos) was in the area all night. He was in front of the batters. They like to swing the bat like we do, and when you’re in the zone and you have a team that likes to swing the bats, with their stuff, you’re going to have clean innings,” Epperson said. .
Santos combined with relievers Jacob Wallace, Chase Shugart, Andrew Politi and Brendan Nail to strike out 12. Nail picked up the win, pitching a scoreless 11th inning.
Portland got a run late in the first but wasted a chance on a big inning. Leadoff hitter Hamilton hit a blooper in left field, showed his speed by turning it into a double, and took third when the ball slipped away from Reading second baseman Rijo. Hamilton scored on Koss’ sacrificial volley to right field.
Granberg singled, Pedro Castellanos walked, and Tyler Dearden was hit with a pitch to load the bases with one out, but Cameron Cannon hit in an innings-ending double play to end the threat.
The Sea Dogs hadn’t scored more than three runs in a game since a 13-5 win over Binghamton on April 24, and finally got a hit in the seventh, when Castellanos’ two-out single scored Granberg for cut Reading’s lead to 3-2.
“As a clubhouse, we didn’t panic. We know we have a lot of good guys here. It was a tough series, yes, but there were some positives. A lot of guys hit balls hard,” Koss said. “We are working on it. We are a dangerous team. Today we were able to go out and throw 12 hits on someone.
Fightin Phils starter James McArthur entered the game with a 10.22 ERA but allowed just one run in the first inning. McArthur created another jam for himself in the fourth, walking Sogard and Marrero and hitting Hamilton to load the bases, all with two outs, but pulled Koss out to escape without allowing a run.
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