The Portland Sea Dogs entered Tuesday’s game against the Reading Fightin Phils in an offensive funk, scoring just nine runs in six games in last week’s series against the Somerset Patriots. The Sea Dogs’ bats came to life Tuesday as they rapped out 12 hits to take a 5-4, 11-inning win in front of 2,388 fans at Hadlock Field.

Christian Koss drove in the winning run with one out in the bottom of the 11th, singling to center field to score Elih Marrero, who began the inning on second base.

“I was just trying to see something in the zone. He kind of got me chasing a couple siders down, but it kind of worked out to my advantage because I was able to see what that break was like,” Koss said. “That last one was just a little higher than the other ones and I was able to poke it out (to center).”

The teams traded runs in the 10th inning. Wendell Rijo’s one-out single in the top of the 10th scored Aldrem Corredor. In the bottom of the inning, Nick Sogard’s two-out single to right field scored Izzy Wilson to knot the game at 4.

The Sea Dogs tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Tyler Dearden singled to left field, scoring David Hamilton. Devlin Granberg was thrown out at home trying to score the winning run, sending the game into extra innings.

“Two outs, he’s going on contact right there,” Sea Dogs Manager Chad Epperson said. “He’s got to pick the ball up clean, he’s got to hit the cutoff, the shortstop’s got to make a good throw, and the catcher’s got to catch it an apply the tag, and they did all that. I think if I’m in that situation again, I’d do it again.”

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Portland starting pitcher Victor Santos was strong, allowing four hits over six innings, striking out five and walking none. The problem for Santos was, two of those hits were home runs. Left fielder Corredor hit a two-run homer to center field to give the Fightin Phils a 2-1 lead in the top of the second inning. Center fielder Jhailyn Ortiz led off the top of the third for Reading with a home run to left-center for a 3-1 lead.

“(Santos) was in the zone all night. He was ahead of hitters. They like to swing the bat like we do, and when you’re in the zone and you’ve got a team that likes to swing the bats, with his kind of stuff you’re going to have some clean innings,” Epperson said.

Santos combined with relievers Jacob Wallace, Chase Shugart, Andrew Politi, and Brendan Nail to strike out 12. Nail got the win, pitching a scoreless 11th inning.

Portland got a run in the bottom of the first, but squandered a chance at a big inning. Leadoff hitter Hamilton hit a blooper into left field, showcased his speed by turning it into a double, and took third when the ball got away from Reading second baseman Rijo. Hamilton scored on Koss’ sacrifice fly to right field.

Granberg singled, Pedro Castellanos walked and Tyler Dearden was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out, but Cameron Cannon hit into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.

The Sea Dogs had not scored more than three runs in a game since a 13-5 win over Binghamton on April 24, and finally got a timely hit in the seventh, when Castellanos’ two-out single scored Granberg to cut Reading’s lead to 3-2.

“As a clubhouse, we haven’t panicked. We know we have a lot of good guys in here. That was a tough series, yeah, but there were some bright spots. A lot of guys hit some balls hard,” Koss said. “We’re working it out. We’re a dangerous team. Today we were able to go out and drop 12 hits on someone.”

Fightin Phils starter James McArthur entered the game with a 10.22 earned-run average, but allowed just that one first-inning run. McArthur created another jam for himself in the fourth, walking Sogard and Marrero and hitting Hamilton to load the bases, all with two outs, but struck out Koss to escape without allowing a run.


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