April 15, 2011

Sea Dogs 7, Thunder 0: A put-it-together night

Alex Wilson and Jeremy Kehrt combine on a shutout, and the Dogs find their timely hitting.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The fastball fires in at 95 mph. The slider cuts across at 85, and then the change-up can freeze a batter.

click image to enlarge

Alex Hassan of the Portland Sea Dogs dives safely back to first base Tuesday night as Myron Leslie of the Trenton Thunder awaits the throw. Hassan went 3 for 5 with a double, driving in two runs, and improved his batting average to .500 during the 7-0 victory at Hadlock Field.

Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Jon Hee watches the flight of the ball after cracking a two-run double for the Sea Dogs during a five-run fourth inning. Portland and Trenton will meet again at 6 tonight at Hadlock.

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Sea Dogs (Brock Huntzinger 0-1) vs. Trenton Thunder (Shaeffer Hall (0-0)
WHEN: 6 p.m.
WHERE: Hadlock Field
TICKETS: 3,000 available

Alex Wilson had his pitches working Tuesday night, throwing six shutout innings in the Portland Sea Dogs' 7-0 win over the Trenton Thunder at Hadlock Field.

Wilson became the first Eastern League starter to go 2-0, allowing two hits, striking out five and walking one. He needed only 75 pitches (52 strikes).

"My fastball is what sold my outing," Wilson said. "The slider felt good and I could throw it whenever I wanted to. And I mixed (change-ups) in when I could."

Jeremy Kehrt completed the shutout with three no-hit innings for the save. Kehrt has allowed one hit in two outings (71/3 innings).

"Tonight we got a quality start from (Wilson) and then Kehrt has been tremendous so far in long relief," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. "Both guys attacked the zone and kept the defense involved. A real good pace of the game (2 hours, 30 minutes)."

Another Alex did just fine at the plate. Alex Hassan, the former Duke player who could have been a pro pitcher or hitter, went 3 for 5 with a double and two RBI. He's batting .500 (12 for 24).

Good decision, Red Sox, on keeping a bat in Hassan's hands.

"Being around him in instructional league two years ago, I really liked him back then," Sea Dogs hitting coach Dave Joppie said. "He's a polished hitter.

"He does not give away at-bats. He grinds and grinds and grinds. He fouls off the tough pitches. He finds a way to stay in and get the job done. Look at (Tuesday night) -- every one of his at-bats he got to two strikes."

Every Sea Dogs batter had at least one hit penciled on the scorecard. Joppie is watching his pupils put up a .288 team batting average, second-best in the league.

"Everyone is swinging the bats pretty good," Joppie said, "especially the young guys who are getting their first taste of Double-A."

Another batting leader, along with Hassan, was Will Middlebrooks, who stroked two hits, including a double.

Middlebrooks, the third-base prospect, is batting .391.

The Sea Dogs jumped on Trenton starter Steve Garrison (0-1) for five runs in the fourth.

Garrison, 24, a native of Trenton, is on the Yankees' 40-man roster after being claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres last September. He shut out Portland through three innings.

Portland produced four straight hits to begin the fourth – singles by Chih-Hsien Chiang and Middlebrooks, and doubles by Oscar Tejeda (RBI) and Jon Hee (two RBI). Later, Hassan doubled in a run and Jorge Padron added an RBI single.

Hassan and Tim Federowicz had RBI in the sixth to complete the scoring.

"We did a nice job with runners in scoring position," said Boles, whose team left 13 runners on base Monday night. "The guys talked about it, addressed it. The focus was there tonight."

The announced paid attendance was 3,225. Portland improved to 3-3 while Trenton dropped to 2-4. The rubber game of the series is at 6 tonight.


Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: kthomas@pressherald.com


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