Sunday, December 8, 2013
By MICK REINHARD Special to the Press Herald
HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Portland Sea Dogs split Wednesday night's doubleheader with the Harrisburg Senators as they staged a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory in the first game and dropped the second game, 5-2.
WHO: Portland Sea Dogs (Chris Balcom-Miller 2-4) at Harrisburg Senators (Paul Demny 4-2)
WHEN: 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Metro Bank Park
In the opener at Metro Bank Park, the Sea Dogs trailed 2-1 entering the final inning until Bryce Brentz and Zach Gentile provided the late-inning heroics.
Brentz crushed a 1-0 fastball from reliever Erik Davis over the center-field wall to even the score with a leadoff home run.
Portland Manager Kevin Boles reflected on the key at-bat: "He got a pitch that he could drive and he stayed up the middle with his approach. With Brentz he's got the ability and strength to leave it anywhere in the ballpark. That absolutely gained some momentum for us."
After catcher Matt Spring struck out for the first out of the inning, Derrik Gibson drew a full-count walk to put the go-ahead run on base and into scoring position after he swiped his seventh stolen base of the season.
Zach Gentile followed with a floater into shallow center field that dropped for a single and Boles -- coaching third base -- sent Gibson all the way home despite a late jump to make sure the ball got down.
As the throw home skipped through Harrisburg catcher Devin Ivany's legs, Gibson scored what proved to be the winning run.
"It probably wasn't the wisest decision. He could have been out by 60 feet but we caught a break there. Thank goodness," said Boles.
Starter Billy Buckner earned an impressive complete-game victory after yielding two first-inning runs.
Buckner worked the last six scoreless innings, allowing only four more base runners on two hits, a walk and a hit batsman. Buckner has earned a win in each of his last three starts, improving to 4-3.
In the second game, the Sea Dogs raced to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when they cashed in on their first hit as Juan Carlos Linares singled to left field to score Jeremy Hazelbaker from second base.
But the Senators responded an inning later against Portland starter Stolmy Pimentel.
Harrisburg sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs on six hits.
Boles had high praise for his starter despite the rough inning.
"It wasn't any fault of his," said Boles. "I thought we didn't protect the baseball behind him. He should have been out of there with one run and there was that squib ball that was in foul territory and came in fair."
It was all the offense the Senators needed for the game as four relievers worked the last four innings, holding the Sea Dogs to only one more run on Linares' solo home run.
Pimentel, however, showed some character as he earned a complete game by working 1-2-3 innings in both the fifth and sixth innings.
"He kept his composure and kept his mound presence," Boles said. "I thought it was a really solid outing. It was a great example of him keeping his wits about him. That was pretty impressive."
The teams complete the three-game series at 10:30 this morning as Portland's Chris Balcom-Miller faces Harrisburg's Paul Demny.
The Sea Dogs play a three-game series at Altoona over the weekend before returning home Tuesday against Bowie.