Friday, March 7, 2014
By TOM ROBINSON/Special to the Press Herald
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Portland Sea Dogs finally found a way to slow down the runaway Binghamton Mets.
Put an infielder on the mound.
Ryan Dent worked two scoreless innings Friday night and the Sea Dogs scored three runs in the 15th inning for an 8-5 victory against the Binghamton Mets.
Dent became the second position player to win a game for the Sea Dogs, who are in their 20th season. Outfielder Jay Johnson also pitched two scoreless innings in a 17-inning victory against Connecticut in April 2008 at Hadlock Field.
The Sea Dogs collected 19 hits and turned to two other new pitchers to outlast the Mets in a five-hour game that finished just after midnight.
Right-handed relievers Bobby Lanigan and Matty Ott combined to work seven grueling innings for Portland on the day they joined the team. The Sea Dogs needed to get as much mileage as possible out of their available pitchers because the game fell between doubleheaders Thursday and Saturday.
The minimum 14-inning workload the teams knew they were facing on those two days was passed. The Sea Dogs could have won in regulation but coughed up a lead, allowing two unearned runs in the ninth.
The game seemed headed into the bottom of the 15th still tied until Binghamton third baseman Josh Rodriguez threw the ball away on a potential inning-ending force play. Heiker Meneses scored the go-ahead run on the error.
A wild pitch and a Michael Almanzar RBI single increased the lead to 8-5.
The win was the first by the Sea Dogs in the last seven meetings with the Mets, who had their Eastern League Eastern Division lead reduced to 91⁄2 games.
Christian Vazquez, Kolbrin Vitek, Meneses and Derrik Gibson all had three hits for Portland.
Binghamton’s two unearned runs in the ninth came against Lanigan, who fought his way through a 62-pitch, three-inning assignment.
Wilfredo Tovar reached when his routine grounder went through the legs of Meneses at shortstop. Danny Muno singled through the right side to put runners on the corners.
Cesar Puello cut the lead to one with a one-out single and Allan Dykstra tied it with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center field.
Lanigan came back to get the final out with two on, forcing extra innings.
Ott, up from Class A Salem for the first time, retired the first 10 batters he faced in four scoreless innings.
The Sea Dogs put together six hits, including four straight, to take a 4-1 lead in the second.
Brandon Jacobs doubled with one out, and Shannon Wilkerson and Meneses followed with singles for a run. Gibson then doubled home a run and Vazquez singled in two more.
Lanigan, 26, has 23 games of experience at Triple-A in the past two seasons with Rochester, where he won six games and saved two. He spent most of this season with New Britain, going 3-1 with a save and 3.77 ERA in 23 games.
Ott, 23, was a 13th-round pick two years ago. He set a school record with 16 saves on LSU’s 2009 national title team.