After splitting a twin bill on Saturday afternoon, the Portland Sea Dogs entered Sunday’s rubber match with an opportunity to earn the series victory against the Trenton Thunder and take over the #1 slot in the Eastern League.
However, it did not start out looking that way. Early in the game, Trenton got to Portland starter Trey Ball. They scored two runs apiece in the second and fourth inning. In the fifth, Mike Ford doubled for Trenton to bring home Thairo Estrada, extending the lead to 5-0. That would be all for the Sea Dogs tall lefty. He was replaced by Luis Ysla.
As the innings waned, Portland’s bats emerged. In the bottom of the sixth, former Chicago Cub Mike Olt led off the inning with a solo home run. It would be a sign of things to come from the journeyman infielder. Later on, shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin also hit a towering home run; this one down the right field line.
After Heiker Meneses hit into a line drive double-play to end the seventh, Austin Maddox threw a scoreless eighth to keep the game at 5-2. However, the heart of the Sea Dogs order—Olt, Rafael Devers, and Nick Longhi—went down in order in the eighth.
Following another scoreless inning by Sea Dogs reliever, Jamie Callahan, the home team had one final chance to come back and earn the victory. To begin the inning, Lin reached first on an errant throw. Catcher, Jake DePew, then popped out. However, #9 hitter, Joseph Monge, smacked a long 2-run home run down the left field line that barely stayed fair, prompting a visit from Trenton manager. Finally, the top of the order was up with only one out and only a one-run deficit. The speedy Aneury Tavarez doubled on a softly hit ball through the left infield gap. Meneses followed with a single and advanced on a stolen base after a Cole Sturgeon strikeout. This put both the tying and winning run in scoring position with two outs for Mike Olt.
And wasting no time, Olt smashed the ball into right-center field, but it was almost caught by Trenton’s Rashad Crawford. However, the ball fell to the warning track and plated both Meneses and Tavarez, giving Portland the victory.
The fog horn blew and Portland improved to 9-5, giving them sole position of first place in the division. They opened up a series against last-place Hartford on Monday with Jacob Dahlstrand taking the mound.