Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By ALLEN LESSELS Special to the Press Herald
MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Portland Sea Dogs had little success in dealing with Fisher Cats starting pitcher Marcus Walden.
WHO: Sea Dogs (Charlie Haeger 1-0) at N.H. Fisher Cats (Deck McGuire 2-5)
WHEN: 6:35 p.m.
They didn't have any better luck against the guy who relieved him either, and in the end managed only three singles in a 3-0 loss at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium on Tuesday night in the first of 24 games between the teams this season.
Walden allowed only two hits in his 72/3 innings and improved his record to 2-4. He struck out six and walked two.
"Walden was terrific," said Portland Manager Kevin Boles. "He had real good sink. It was really boring in on right-handed batters. We didn't have too many comfortable swings. It looked like we swung over the ball quite a bit."
John Stilson closed it out for the save. Sea Dogs first baseman Travis Shaw nicked him for a two-out single in the ninth, but he struck out his other four batters, including Michael Almanzar to end the game.
"It was tough," Almanzar said. Their pitching was very good."
Boles was happy with the job turned in by his starter, lefty Drake Britton.
Britton gave up six hits and two runs in five innings. He struck out five and walked four and his record evened up at 3-3.
"He battled, too," Boles said. "He looked a little bit uncomfortable on the mound but he was able to grind through a little bit. He kept competing. ... He didn't have his best command tonight, but he also showed us a lot. He showed us guts tonight."
The Fisher Cats are 18-21. The Sea Dogs, who lead the Eastern Division, fell to 22-14.
The three-game set continues at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday.
Portland did not get its first hit until right fielder Peter Hissey singled to center with two outs in the sixth.
The Fisher Cats struck for a pair of runs off Britton in the bottom of the fourth to open the scoring. John Tolisano had a leadoff double and Kevin Pillar and Clint Robinson delivered RBI singles.
"They worked up the middle a couple of times," Boles said. "That lineup is pretty impressive. They look like they've got a little different look with their lineup. They've got good versatility with righties and lefties."
New Hampshire upped the lead to three in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Jeremy Kehrt. Kevin Ahrens reached on a walk, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a fielder's choice and scored when Pillar beat out a slow roller to shortstop for a hit.
Pillar had three of New Hampshire's nine hits and shortstop Kevin Nolan and right fielder Brad Glenn each had two.
The Sea Dogs finally threatened a bit in the top of the eighth.
With one out, Shannon Wilkerson walked. Walden struck out Christian Vazquez, but Heiker Meneses followed with a single.
That was it for Walden.
Stilson came on for New Hampshire and struck out Hissey to end the inning. Stilson soon took care of the ninth, too.
NOTES: Fisher Cats Manager Gary Allenson was not in attendance. He left for his home in Florida on Tuesday afternoon to deal with a family matter.