MANCHESTER, N.H. — The Sea Dogs let that one get away.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, trailing by a run and down to their last strike in the ninth inning, scored twice to snatch a 3-2 win from the Sea Dogs at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The Sea Dogs were 1-3 in the series and fell to 64-37. New Hampshire is 47-53.
There were two outs in the ninth when Portland reliever Aaron Kurcz walked Fisher Cats pinch hitters Andy Fermin and Matt Newman.
New Hampshire center fielder Dalton Pompey singled to right field to score Fermin and left fielder Jon Berti singled to left to score Newman with the winning run.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Portland Manager Billy McMillion. “We were in a good position to win the ball game and we let it slip way. If one of those pinch hitters puts the ball in play or strikes out or something, we’re all in here jumping around and having a good time. We were one strike away from the end of the ball game and it being a really short ride back home.”
Kurcz nearly had the one strike. A pitch to Fermin with the count 2-2 just missed and was called a ball.
Starter Brian Johnson went six innings for the Sea Dogs, allowing six hits and one unearned run. He worked out of jams in each of his last two innings.
“He gave us six real strong innings and was able to do some developing, pitching in tight situations,” McMillion said.
Portland right-hander Dayan Diaz, just up from Single-A Salem, pitched two innings of hitless relief in his Double-A debut.
Casey Lawrence went a season-high eight innings for the Fisher Cats, allowing two runs on 10 hits. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Dustin Antolin allowed three hits in the ninth inning, but did not allow a run and earned the win.
New Hampshire right fielder Michael Crouse threw out Peter Hissey, who was trying to score from second on Derrik Gibson’s single, to end the top of the ninth.
Johnson and Lawrence each allowed a first-inning run and nothing else until the fourth.
Portland second baseman Sean Coyle singled to right field with two outs and scored on Dave Chester’s double down the third base line in the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, Pompey led off with a single to right and hustled to third when the ball got past Shannon Wilkerson for a two-base error. Pompey scored the unearned run on Berti’s ground out.
Wilkerson’s infield single on a slow roller down the third base line knocked in Ryan Dent, who had doubled to lead off the fourth inning, to put the Sea Dogs back on top, 2-1.
NOTES: The Sea Dogs collected 13 hits for the second game in a row. … Wilfredo Boscan pitches for the Sea Dogs in the opener of a three-game home stand against the Binghamton Mets at 7 p.m. Monday.