PORTLAND — The prides of Pendleton paired off against each other Wednesday night, making for a fine pitching duel at Hadlock Field.

Akron Aeros right-hander Paolo Espino, drafted out of the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., allowed no runs on four hits over five innings, pacing Akron to a 3-0 win over the Portland Sea Dogs before 5,122 at Hadlock.

Portland starter Brock Huntzinger (5-10), a Red Sox third-round draft pick out of Pendleton Heights High in Indiana, also allowed four hits, over 5 2/3 innings. But along with the three infield singles, there was a solo home run by Ben Copeland, giving Huntzinger the tough-luck loss.

“He kept hitting the outside corner with his fastball and he didn’t give us much to hit,” said Copeland, who struck out on a fastball before swatting a slider for the homer.

Huntzinger allowed two runs over six innings in his previous start, getting a non-decision.

“Just been locating the fastball in and out,” Huntzinger said. “Just keeping the ball down and away.”

John Drennen added a home run in the seventh against new Portland reliever Josh Fields, acquired with Erik Bedard in the recent trade with Seattle.

Akron scored one more run in the ninth on a bunt with two on. Catcher Dan Butler reached the ball and fired toward second, but the ball bounced off reliever Cesar Cabral’s head and a runner scored on the error. Cabral stayed in the game.

Both teams managed six hits but Portland left 10 men on, seven in scoring position. The Sea Dogs struck out 15 times.

Espino, a native of Panama, has been a reliever and spot starter, and an effective one with a 2.44 ERA. He silenced the Sea Dogs, striking out seven. Three Akron relievers allowed only two more hits. Cory Burns recorded his 31st save.

NOTES: With two outs in the fourth and Chun Chen at bat, the game was delayed as the umpires conferred on the count. One umpire had it at 2-2 but after the conference and chats with both managers, it was set at 1-2. … Reliever Caleb Clay went on the disabled list with back inflammation. No replacement has been named, but a reliever is expected from Triple-A or Class A. … Former Sea Dogs starter Stephen Fife won his second game with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, allowing one earned run over six innings, striking out eight. …

The Washington Nationals’ mega-prospect Bryce Harper is scheduled to come to Hadlock Field Aug. 22-24 with the Harrisburg Senators. The Sea Dogs are already cashing in, selling Harper T-shirts for $20. Of the 96 shirts ordered, about half are sold. … The Sea Dogs will open the 2012 season with a rare doubleheader April 5 in Reading, Pa. The Reading Phillies announced their 2012 schedule and are playing two so they can take Easter (April 8) off. Portland hasn’t announced its schedule but after playing in Reading and Trenton, likely will open its home schedule April 12. … The New Hampshire Fisher Cats announced their 2012 home schedule and will welcome the Sea Dogs for a whopping 15 games.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

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