NEWPORT, R.I. — The Sanford Mainers got off to a great start in their opening round New England Collegiate Baseball League playoff game against the Newport Gulls on Friday night at Cardines Field.

But things went steadily downhill from there for Sanford.

The Mainers scored the first run of the game in the first inning but Newport answered with at least one run in each of its first seven at-bats on its way to a resounding 14-2 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-three series.

Jerry Ferris will get the start for Sanford in Game 2 of the series scheduled for tonight at 6:30 at Goodall Park.

“Getting on top early is always key at Newport but we just couldn’t get to their starter,” said Mainers head coach Aaron Izaryk. “(Daniel Wright) is one of the best pitchers in the league. We had to put up some zeros defensively and we didn’t get a chance to do that. They came right back and that’s a credit to them.”

Jordan Hagel, who accounted for four of Sanford’s six hits in the game, lifted the Mainers into an early advantage when he hit a solo home run in the top of the first to grab a 1-0 lead.

It was all Newport after that.

The Gulls, who mounted a 15-hit attack, got back on even terms in their half of the first. Charlie White walked to lead off the frame and moved around to third on a single and an error. White scored on Kasey Coffman’s sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.

Newport added another run in the second when three of the first four batters to the plate singled to move ahead 2-1.

The home side upped the count to 3-1 when it loaded the bases with two outs in the third. A run scored when Joel McKeithan reached on an error charged to Sanford third baseman Anthony Hajjar. Brett Winger added a two-run double in the fourth to make it 5-1 Gulls and McKeithan scored Newport’s sixth run of the game after he doubled and later scored on Jose Torralba’s error in the fifth. Sanford starter Rohn Pierce, who took the loss after allowing six runs, exited after the fifth and was replaced by Matt Horan, who didn’t fare any better. Horan was charged with eight runs in an inning-plus of relief as the Gulls moved ahead 14-1 through seven.

“I always say that it’s a little easier to shake a blowout than it is to lose a one-run ball game and forget about it,” said Izaryk. “Emotionally it’s not as draining as a 3-2 ball game that comes down to the last hit or something like that. You don’t take it with you as much. Sometimes when you get a blowout you can write it off as just having a bad night and you are able to flush it for tomorrow.”

Wright posted the win for Newport. He surrendered one run on five hits while striking out five in seven innings.

— Contact Mark Jeanneret at 282-1535, Ext. 323.

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