If Justus Sheffield had taken that scholarship to Vanderbilt, then he wouldn’t have been on the Hadlock Field mound Sunday afternoon.

But Sheffield, the No. 2 pitching prospect in the New York Yankees system, was there, dealing for the Trenton Thunder, who beat the Portland Sea Dogs 6-2, before a sell-out crowd of 7,368.

Sheffield (4-2), who just turned 21, held Portland to three hits and one unearned run over 62/3 innings, striking out six.

The lone bright spot for Portland was a booming home run by Rafael Devers in the eighth inning.

Sea Dogs starter Teddy Stankiewicz (2-2) was locked into a 1-1 duel with Sheffield after five innings, both runs were unearned.

But Trenton was going through the lineup for the third time in the sixth inning.

The Thunder adjusted and began the frame with two doubles sandwiched around two singles. A sacrifice fly and single later, Trenton had four runs and led 5-1.

“I was still making my pitches. It just didn’t work out the way I wanted,” Stankiewicz said. “They had a couple of hits that weren’t hit hard and a couple that were. It happens.”

Stankiewicz lasted 52/3 innings and saw his ERA jump to 3.56. Sheffield, who allowed four hits and one run in his last start, dropped to 3.28.

“The last two outings, he’s been amazingly good,” Trenton Manager Bobby Mitchell said. “He’s only 21 and pitching at a tough level. He’s got a bright future.”

Sheffield’s older brothers Jordan pitched for Vanderbilt (and is now in the Dodgers’ system) and Justus had an offer from the Commodores.

“I was pretty close to going there,” Sheffield said.

But Cleveland drafted him in the first round in 2014 and signed him for $1.6-million.

The Indians traded Sheffield to New York last July in the Andrew Miller deal.

Sheffield, a lefty, features a mid-90s fastball with a slider and change-up. Just another prized arm that has the Thunder leading the Eastern League with a 2.65 ERA – the best of any team at the Double-A or Triple-A level.

“They keep bringing in guys who are throwing 95 (mph) plus,” said Portland Manager Carlos Febles, whose Sea Dogs (21-23) have lost three straight to Trenton (32-16).

Williams Jerez relieved Stankiewicz and gave up a solo home run to Miguel Andujar in the seventh inning.

In the eighth, Trenton right-handed reliever J.P. Feyereisen faced Devers, who was in 3-for-32 slump. Devers turned on a 93 mph fastball and launched it toward right field and out of the park. The exit velocity was 107 mph, and the projected distance 401 feet. The Sea Dogs staff found the ball on the turf of the neighboring Fitzpatrick Stadium.

It was Devers’ eighth home run, but his first since May 14. During his slump, Devers was seen taking some mighty swings – and misses.

“He’s strong enough that he doesn’t have to over-swing to hit the ball far,” Febles said. “He put a good stroke on it and didn’t try to do too much. Put the barrel out and see what happens.”

Portland will try to avoid the four-game sweep Monday, but the Thunder is sending out another quality arm in Ronald Herrera (5-0, 1.47 ERA).

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: @ClearTheBases