Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - The Portland Sea Dogs hit the ball hard. Sometimes too hard.
Alex Hassan is welcomed by Che-Hsuan Lin, center, and Ryan Lavarnway after hitting one of the Portland Sea Dogs’ five home runs Thursday in a 12-5 victory against the Binghamton Mets at Hadlock Field. Hassan is batting .439.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
In the fourth inning, Che-Hsuan Lin sizzled a line drive down the third-base line -- foul.
Leading off of third base, Will Middlebrooks jumped for his life.
"It just missed me," Middlebrooks said.
But plenty of Portland's hits landed in fair territory -- inside and outside the ballpark -- as the Sea Dogs enjoyed a 12-5 rout of the Binghamton Mets on Thursday at Hadlock Field.
Middlebrooks hit two of Portland's five home runs.
It marked Portland's third straight win, and the Sea Dogs' fifth consecutive game of 10 hits or more. They had 14 on Thursday.
An 18 mph wind blowing out helped the offense. Alex Hassan (left-center), Ryan Lavarnway (left), Tim Federowicz (right-center) and Middlebrooks (left-center and right-center) homered for Portland.
"Just trying to stick with my approach as best as I can," said Middlebrooks, in his first month of Double-A baseball. "The adaptation (to Double-A) hasn't been too rough."
Starter Alex Wilson (3-1) didn't need so much support, cruising through five innings (five hits, one run, five strikeouts).
Wilson allowed a run and three singles in the first inning before settling down, working his 95 mph fastball, mid-80s slider and change-up. He retired his last seven batters.
"I settled in real nice," Wilson said. "I was able to pound the zone and allow my secondary stuff to play."
Three hits and two Mets errors helped Portland score three runs in the first, keyed by Will Vazquez's RBI double.
Then the Sea Dogs began to pad the batting statistics.
Hassan continued his Ted Williams impersonation, going 3 for 5 to up his average to .439 (29 for 66). Hassan's two-run homer was his first of the year. He has 14 RBI.
"He's a tough out," Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles said. "He makes those pitchers work."
Middlebrooks is batting .354 after a 3-for-4 day with three RBI.
The touted third-base prospect has four home runs and 10 RBI.
"He has a lot of potential and we're very happy to see him with the start that he's got," Boles said. "He has a lot to offer and we're excited about his future."
Federowicz, the catcher who supposedly had to work on his hitting, is batting .333 with a team-leading 16 RBI. His home run was his third.
Lavarnway has had his early struggles (.231 average) but still has three home runs.
The Sea Dogs were well ahead when reliever Caleb Clay and Eammon Portice allowed a combined four runs on five hits and four walks. Blake Maxwell (1.86 ERA) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two.
NOTES: The announced paid attendance was 2,873. The Sea Dogs (8-9) head south for a seven-game trip, with three games in Reading, Pa., starting tonight, and four in Trenton, N.Y. The team then will return to Portland for a three-game homestand May 6-8 before another seven-game trip. Binghamton (6-11) heads back to New York to play the Akron Aeros tonight.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: