Portland Sea Dogs pitchers tied their season high by striking out 17 Trenton Thunder batters Friday night.

And they still lost their fifth consecutive game.

The Thunder pushed across two runs in the top of the eighth inning, aided by four walks, to defeat the Sea Dogs 4-2 at Hadlock Field.

Trenton’s four pitchers weren’t too bad, either. They combined to strike out 14, the two biggest by Braden Bristo in the bottom of the eighth.

After the Sea Dogs loaded the bases with one out, Bristo entered in relief.

Nick Lovullo of the Sea Dogs is caught stealing second as Trenton’s Kyle Holder waits to apply the tag. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Nick Lovullo battled him before striking out on the 10th pitch of his at-bat. Then Bristo struck out Jarren Duran on three pitches to end the inning.

Portland stranded 11 runners.

“We didn’t execute when we had runners in scoring position,” said Manager Joe Oliver. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year. We showed that a couple of times tonight.”

Lefty Matthew Kent set a career high with 11 strikeouts in six innings for Portland. He allowed six hits, didn’t walk anyone and left after 100 pitches with the game tied 2-2.

“Matt gave us a chance to win,” said Oliver.

Sea Dogs catcher Austin Rei awaits the ball as Trenton’s Francisco Arcia slides home for a run. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Kent said, “I think it was my ability to mix and match my arm slots and my different pitches, and I kept guys as off balance as I’ve had a team all year.”

Then it unraveled in the eighth.

Robinson Leyer, who replaced Kent in the seventh, walked the first three batters in the eighth.

In came Jordan Weems, who got a strikeout, then gave up a soft line single to right by Brandon Wagner, who had struck out his previous three at-bats against Kent.

After another strikeout by Weems, he walked Francisco Arcia to force in another run, giving the Thunder a 4-2 lead.

The Sea Dogs jumped out quickly on Thunder starter Albert Abreu as the first four runners reached, with two scoring.

Duran led off with a walk, and then Jeremy Rivera hit a chopper down the first-base line. Abreu fielded and tried to tag Rivera, who went wide to avoid him. Abreu then threw the ball past first baseman Chris Gittens, and Duran ran all the way to third, with Rivera safe at first.

Tommy Joseph then blooped the first pitch he saw to right-center, scoring Duran, with Rivera going to third.

Joey Curletta followed with a bloop to left, scoring Rivera. But Abreu induced a double-play grounder by Luke Tendler to stall that rally.

Trenton got a run back in the third when Max Burt doubled and scored on a single by Rashad Crawford.

Then the Thunder tied it against Kent in the fifth. Francisco Arcia led off with a single to right and scored on a single by Zack Zehner.

Kent was in control through most of his outing, and his night ended when he induced a 5-4-3 double play to end the sixth. Lovullo, at third, fielded a sharp one-hopper by Burt with a runner on first to start the play.


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