TRENTON, N.J. – Pitching on three days’ rest for the first time this year, Charlie Haeger didn’t make it out of the fifth inning Saturday night and got little support from his defense and offense as the Portland Sea Dogs fell to the Trenton Thunder, 8-3.
While the Sea Dogs were being silenced by Trenton pitcher Mikey O’Brien, Haeger kept his team in the game through four innings. But the Thunder broke the game open in the fifth, scoring five runs off Haeger and reliever Pete Ruiz to build a 7-0 lead.
Haeger allowed six hits and four walks in four-plus innings.
“Just wasn’t good enough,” Haeger said. “Too many walks, gave up a couple hits at opportune times for them, and in a tight game where it was in the fifth inning, it’s really all it’s going to take.”
Haeger also was victimized by his defense. A pair of errors and a passed ball led to Trenton’s first two runs.
The Thunder took the lead in the bottom of the first without getting the ball out of the infield. With one out, Portland shortstop Derrik Gibson threw away a Slade Heathcott grounder, allowing him to reach second base. After moving to third on a groundout, Heathcott scored when Kyle Roller hit an infield single off the bag at first base.
Trenton struck for another run in the fourth. After a leadoff single by Andrew Clark, a passed ball moved the runner to second. Haeger walked Reegie Corona, and Francisco Arcia hit a hard grounder that deflected off first baseman Travis Shaw’s wrist and careened into the outfield for an error that allowed Clark to score.
The fifth inning was the breaking point. Haeger allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, then walked Carmen Angelini to load the bases with nobody out. Andrew Clark followed a blooper that a sliding J.C. Linares could not come up with in left field, and Tyler Austin scored to make it 3-0.
Ruiz replaced Haeger and was greeted by Corona’s RBI single. Arcia singled down the right-field line to drive home two more runs, and Ramon Flores added another RBI single.
Trenton got its final run in the sixth when Roller blasted a home run.
The Sea Dogs finally got on the board against O’Brien in the top of the sixth. Gibson led off with a single and scored two batters later when Shannon Wilkerson ripped a double that rolled to the wall in left-center.
Peter Hissey hit a two-run single in the ninth off reliever Cesar Cabral, who struck out Garin Cecchini with the bases loaded to end Portland’s rally.