PORTLAND – Damon Sublett’s home run Thursday night will never be mentioned in the same breath as those legendary Boston Red Sox-beating blasts by Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone.

But for one night, Sublett’s stroke made a difference. His two-run homer to left-center in the 11th inning propelled the Trenton Thunder to a 4-2 win over Portland in the Sea Dogs’ home opener at Hadlock Field.

A second baseman for Trenton, a New York Yankees affiliate, Sublett ended a duel by both bullpens. He hit a 1-1 fastball from Ryne Lawson (0-1).

“It was a fastball and he left it up in the zone,” Sublett said. “I just took advantage of it.”

Sublett knows how hard it is to relieve in the late innings. When he played the infield for Wichita State, he also served as the closer. On Thursday, he finished matters with his bat.

“They got the big hit late,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “We pitched well. It was a good ballgame.”

Kyle Weiland put in five solid innings for the Sea Dogs (two runs, six strikeouts), and Andrew Dobies and Bryce Cox combined for five shutout innings.

Trenton took a 1-0 lead in the third when Austin Romine cranked a two-out RBI double to left-center. Romine, a second-round draft pick in 2007, is the Yankees’ second-best prospect, according to Baseball America.

Weiland got into trouble in the fifth — two hits and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. The Sea Dogs’ defense came through with damage control.

Second baseman Nate Spears snagged a hard-hit grounder in the hole, spun around and threw to shortstop Jose Iglesias for the force at second.

Iglesias then fired to third, catching Justin Snyder taking too big a turn.

Trenton scored but there were two outs. Weiland finished his outing by inducing a groundout.

“He had us off balance while he was in there,” Sublett said.

Trenton left-handed starter Jeremy Bleich, meanwhile, was cruising, allowing no hits through four innings.

Bleich, out of Stanford in 2008, had the Sea Dogs grounding his fastballs into outs.

Iglesias broke through with a two-out double off the left-field wall in the fifth.

Jason Place followed with a rising line drive that second baseman David Adams could only knock down. Iglesias raced around to score, closing Portland to 2-1.

The Sea Dogs tied it in the sixth. Lars Anderson doubled to the right-center gap. He scored on Yamaico Navarro’s single to right.

The bullpens then took over.

Trenton left-hander Wilkin De La Rosa retired all nine batters he faced.

Dobies allowed one hit over two innings, striking out three.

Cox pitched three innings, allowing one hit and no walks, striking out three.

Portland threatened in the 10th off new reliever Eric Wordekemper with singles by Iglesias and Ryan Kalish. With two outs and runners on second and third, Spears was intentionally walked. Wordekemper then struck out Luis Exposito.

“We had an opportunity and they pitched out of it,” Beyeler said.

Lawson gave up a one-out single to left in the 11th. Then came Sublett, who was 0 for 4.

“I was little jumpy at the plate,” Sublett said. “I was trying to relax and let it come to me.”

It worked.

 

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]