ERIE, Pa. – Portland Sea Dogs right-hander Jeremy Kehrt isn’t afraid of contact when he’s locating his fastball in the strike zone.

Kehrt has confidence in his defense and almost dares hitters to find an opening. He forced Erie to swing early and often on his way to six scoreless innings Thursday as the Sea Dogs edged the SeaWolves 1-0 before 2,040 at Jerry Uht Park.

Kehrt ran his scoreless streak to 15 2/3 innings over the last three starts.

“I’ve really been pounding my fastball early and using it to get ahead,” he said. “It works well with my two-seamer and puts hitters in a hole.”

Portland improved to 32-27 and completed a three-game sweep. It was the first series win for the Sea Dogs at Jerry Uht Park since 2005.

“It’s nice to come here and win anything. We haven’t had much luck in this park,” Portland Manager Arnie Beyeler said. “We pitched well, played nice defense and had some timely hitting this series.”

After scoring 10 runs on Wednesday, the Sea Dogs’ offense was nearly silent Thursday, but an unearned run in the first inning was all Kehrt and the bullpen needed.

Nate Spears led off the first with a walk before Che-Hsuan Lin ripped a single up the middle. Spears’ walk came after Erie catcher Andy Bouchie dropped an easy fly ball in foul territory to commit the SeaWolves’ only error.

After Ray Chang flied out to right field, Luis Exposito came through with a single to score Spears.

“Our team is pretty diversified. Someone else steps up each night, and that is key for a young team,” Beyeler said.

“Kehrt has done an outstanding job and has pitched very well.”

Kehrt and Erie starter Thad Webber matched pitch for pitch after the first inning. In fact, Webber went eight innings without allowing an earned run before Zach Simons finished in the ninth.

Eammon Portice and Jason Rice combined for three scoreless innings to complete Kehrt’s first win with the Sea Dogs.

Aside from an error on Kehrt when he missed first base after taking a throw following a grounder to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the Sea Dogs were perfect on defense.

“They are pretty strong defensively behind me,” Kehrt said. “I try to get ground balls as much as I can. I owe a lot to Lin for some of the plays he made today.”

Lin made one of the top defensive plays of the season for the Sea Dogs. In the sixth inning, the SeaWolves had a runner on first with one out when Cesar Nicolas crushed a pitch to the left-center gap.

Lin not only caught the ball in a dead sprint, he turned around at the wall and threw to first base to double off the runner.


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