TRENTON, N.J. – Lars Anderson quickly turned a bad hitting night into a great one.

After grounding out in his first at-bat and striking out in his next two at-bats, Anderson nailed a 3-2 fastball over the right-field wall to give the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth inning.

After Ray Chang tacked on a run with a homer, Bryce Cox earned the save as the Sea Dogs survived with a 3-2 victory over the Trenton Thunder.

“I haven’t been that excited in a long time,” Anderson said about his home run. “I had a kind of frustrating first three at-bats, but I felt pretty good. The approach was to get my foot down early and let my body do what it’s supposed to do and get my mind out of it.”

With the win, the Sea Dogs improved to 7-7 on the season, two games out of first place in the Eastern Division. The Sea Dogs and Thunder resume their four-game series tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Sea Dogs pitcher Eammon Portice, a reliever who earned the spot start, pitched well in five innings of work. He allowed one run on three hits, striking out three and surrendering no walks.

“He was supposed to throw four innings,” Sea Dogs Manager Arnie Beyeler said about Portice, “but he ended up being able to throw five because he was so efficient.”

After allowing just one hit in the first four innings of a scoreless game, Portice allowed a single to Damon Sublett to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Kevin Smith hit an RBI double to right-center field to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead.

Chang led off the top of the seventh inning with a walk. Jose Iglesias and Chih-Hsien Chiang followed with base hits to load the bases with none out. After Jason Place popped out, Ryan Kalish hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Chang and tie the game 1-1.

With two outs and nobody on base in the top of the eighth inning, Anderson and Chang hit back-to-back homers to give the Sea Dogs a 3-1 lead.

Robert Coello, who picked up his first win of the season, pitched three nearly flawless innings in relief. He gave up no hits and no runs, walked none and struck out five. He struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order in the eighth.

Bryce Cox picked up the save for the Sea Dogs, but it got a little more interesting than he would have liked. After breezing through the first two outs in the ninth inning, Cox gave up a monstrous homer to Brandon Laird over the left-field wall. However, Cox settled down and got Sublett to ground out to end the game.

“It was a good ballgame on both sides,” Beyeler said. “It was a very well-pitched game. And we were fortunate that those guys got a couple of balls up in the zone and (we) drove them out of the park late in the game. … We just hit a couple of balls harder than they did.”