PORTLAND – It got interesting when the Portland Sea Dogs loaded the bases with one out in the ninth inning.
But New Hampshire closer Alan Farina got a pop-up and a fly out to secure the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 8-6 victory over the Sea Dogs Tuesday night, before a sold-out Hadlock Field crowd of 7,368.
Ryan Dent paced Portland with two hits, a run and an RBI. Garin Cecchini reached base three times with a single and two walks.
Portland blew a 4-0 lead, then rallied to tie the game 5-5. But New Hampshire scored two unearned runs in the seventh and a run in the eighth for an 8-5 lead.
“We swung the bats, but we didn’t produce shut-down innings,” Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said.
Portland put runners on second and third with no outs in the ninth. After a strikeout, Michael Almanzar singled in a run. Christian Vazquez walked to load the bases. Matt Spring then popped up to the shortstop and Dent flied out to right.
The Sea Dogs dropped to 61-67, while New Hampshire improved to 63-64.
Portland scored four runs on four hits in the second inning. Vazquez (double), Dent (RBI double), Kevin Heller (RBI double) and Cecchini (RBI single) fueled the rally.
The rally was needed after Portland starter Terry Doyle gave up five runs on five hits in the third inning.
The Sea Dogs tied the game in the sixth, painfully. Leadoff batter Travis Shaw was hit by a pitch below his right knee and left the game. Spring replaced him.
Dent singled. With one out, Heller hit a grounder that looked to be a double-play ball, but Dent’s hard slide into second base broke it up. Spring reached third with two outs. Shannon Wilkerson singled him in for a 5-5 tie.
In the seventh, Portland shortstop Deven Marrero allowed a grounder to roll under his glove.
“I read the hop and it ended up staying down,” Marrero said. “Just one of those things. Got to get the next one.”
Reliever Eric Niesen (0-2) walked two with two outs to load the bases. Jack Murphy doubled in two runs for a 7-5 lead. Reliever Matt Maloney gave up a run in the eighth.
NOTES: The Sea Dogs changed their pitching rotation, moving left-handed prospect Henry Owens back a day to Thursday, when the team plays in Trenton. Mickey Pena, just promoted from Salem, starts today. Pena’s ERA in his last seven starts is 1.96. With his single and two walks, Cecchini extended his on-base streak to 29 games, the sixth-longest streak in Sea Dogs history. Kevin Millar holds the franchise record with 62. Cecchini is batting .306, with an on-base percentage of .423. Xander Bogaerts, who made his major league debut with Boston Tuesday night, is one of five finalists for the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year award.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: