Sunday, March 9, 2014
By BILL ALBRIGHT Special to the Press Herald
ALTOONA, Pa. — The Portland Sea Dogs began a six-game trip with a 5-2 win over the Altoona Curve Tuesday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
WHO: Sea Dogs (Chris Hernandez 0-0) at Altoona Curve (Nick Kingham 4-2)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
"It was good for us to get off to a quick start, especially after the off day," said Sea Dogs Manager Kevin Boles. "The guys were ready to play. I thought we had a real good workout and they were able to carry it over into the game."
The Sea Dogs put the pressure on the Curve early with single runs in the first and second before adding three in the third for a 5-0 lead.
In the first, Shannon Wilkerson doubled to right and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Garin Cecchini.
In the second, Travis Shaw doubled to right and scored on Ryan Dent's single to center.
In the third, the Sea Dogs took advantage of Curve starter Casey Sadler's wildness as they put together three hits with a pair of hit batters for the three runs.
Christian Vasquez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right and Shaw and Dent had RBI singles.
Shaw led a Portland offense with a double, three singles and a walk. Dent had three singles for a pair of RBI.
"We think highly of those two guys," Boles said of Dent and Shaw.
"They both definitely had a real good approach and it was also good to see Pete Hissey in the eighth spot who played his first game after coming back from an injury.
"To get that kind of offensive production from Shaw was big. I thought his approach was very solid today."
Keith Couch (9-3) kept the Curve under control, working a strong seven innings. He scattered eight hits and allowed one earned run, striking out three and walking none.
"The one thing that Couch was able to do was step it up and stick to his game plan," said Boles. "He didn't take anything for granted and he attacked the zone. He maintained a quality tempo and kept our defense involved."
Couch eased through the second and fifth innings before doing a good job of damage control in the first, second and fourth.
"He did a good job of utilizing his mix and he just kept attacking the zone," Boles said. "When he missed, he missed down, but again, he was able to maintain his stuff from the stretch and keep a good tempo."
The Curve's scoring came in the sixth on an RBI groundout by Justin Howard; and in the ninth on a pinch-hit, RBI single to center by former Sea Dog Oscar Tejeda.
The two teams will meet again at 7 p.m. today.
Chris Hernandez (0-0, 1.42) will start for Portland, Nick Kingham (5-9, 3.56) for the Curve.