Portland Sea Dogs rough up NH Fisher Cats
On a night featuring two highly touted pitchers, it was the batters who took center stage - specially the Portland batters.
Catching prospect Blake Swihart's three-run homer sparked the first of two four-run innings, leading the Sea Dogs past the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 10-3 on Saturday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The visitors did most of their damage against Daniel Norris (1-1), a prospect who tossed a scoreless inning in last week's Futures Game. He allowed eight runs on eight hits and a walk.
His counterpart, Henry Owens, who may be ticketed for promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, fared better. Owens, who also pitched a shutout frame in the Futures Game, went six innings and allowed nine hits and two runs. He struck out six in improving his record to 13-3.
The Sea Dogs finished with 13 hits off four New Hampshire pitchers, while the Fisher Cats collected 11.
Norris' troubles began with two outs in the third inning. Ryan Dent began the rally with a double, and after Derrik Gibson walked, Shannon Wilkerson singled to score Dent. Gibson and Wilkerson then trotted home on Swihart's 11th homer of the season, a deep shot to left.
The Sea Dogs' onslaught continued in the fourth. Michael Almanzar and Stefan Welch singled, and Jonathan Roof followed that with an infield single, loading the bases. Peter Hissey then chased home both Almanzar and Welch with a hit to left, making it 6-0. Dent followed with another hit, putting runners on first and third and chasing Norris in favor of Scott Gracey.
After fanning Gibson, Gracey permitted a two-run single by Wilkerson to make it 8-0.
New Hampshire fought back against Owens in the fourth. Nashua's Kevin Nolan and Matt Newman singled to lead off the frame, and Michael Crouse reached on a throwing error by first baseman Welch to load the bases. Derrick Chung then delivered a sacrifice fly to score Nolan, and K.C. Hobson knocked home Newman with a single to left, making it 8-2.
Jorge Flores singled to load the bases, but Owens caught both Dalton Pompey and Jon Berti looking at third strikes to stem the tide.
Portland tacked on two more in the sixth against Gracey. Hissey doubled and Dent singled him home. Wilkerson double, and Swihart singled home Dent.
The Fisher Cats scored once in the eighth on Pompey's RBI double.
The teams complete their series today at 1:35 p.m. at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Casey Lawrence (6-5) of New Hampshire opposes Brian Johnson (8-2).
The Fisher Cats continue their homestand on Monday night with the opener of a three-game series against Trenton.