Witte, PawSox Comeback To Win 2-1

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Jantzen Witte smashed a walk-off home run to power the Pawtucket Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Rochester Red Wings in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader at McCoy Stadium.

Held without a hit by Rochester (29-33) through the first six innings of the scheduled seven-inning game, the PawSox (34-29) broke through in the seventh to tie the game and won it in the bottom of the eighth. Pawtucket has now won 18 of its last 23 games, including 10 of its last 12.

PawSox Comeback

Rochester starter Yohan Pino (L, 0-4) faced the minimum through six hitless innings and ended up yielding the two runs on four hits and two walks over 7.2 innings.

PawSox starter Kyle Kendrick scattered seven hits over five innings of one-run ball with a pair of strikeouts. Reliever Noe Ramirez (W, 3-2) then took over and dealt three shutout stanzas with three strikeouts, no walks and just two hits.

Shortstop Engelb Vielma and center fielder Zack Granite led off the fifth with consecutive singles. Right fielder J.B. Shuck then plated Vielma with an RBI groundout to second.

Late Inning PawSox Comeback

Pawtucket finally mounted an offensive threat in the seventh. Center fielder Rusney Castillo led off with a single to short to break up the no-hit bid, but he was promptly erased on a 6-4-3 double play. With the PawSox down to their final out, left fielder Steve Selsky stroked a single to center. Selsky then scored all the way from first when designated hitter and cleanup man Bryce Brentz short-hopped an RBI double off the wall in left-center to tie the game. Pino then stranded a pair of runners to force extra innings.

With two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the eighth, Witte drilled Pino’s 1-0 offering to the left-center berm to send Pawtucket to another victory to begin the doubleheader.

Pawtucket concludes its four-game series against Rochester with another doubleheader Sunday, beginning at 12:35 p.m., at McCoy Stadium. Pawtucket left-handers Henry Owens (4-4, 3.72) and Edgar Olmos (3-1, 2.48) are the scheduled starters. Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the PawSox Pre-Game Show at 12:05 p.m.

The seven-game homestand runs through Wednesday. Good seats are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.

Portland Sea Dogs Win Four-Game Series Against Rock Cats

After dropping the first game of the series, the Portland Sea Dogs were able to win three straight, including a 4-2 victory on Sunday, to defeat the New Britain Rock Cats in their four-game set at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, CT.

Portland responded in a big way after being defeated in the series opener, scoring 13 times in a wild comeback victory on Friday night.Portland Sea Dogs

The Sea Dogs entered the seventh inning trialling New Britain by a score of 10-4, and received a RBI single by Oscar Tejada and a grand slam from designated hitter Tim Roberson to bring Portland within a run. The Rock Cats responded with a run of their own off Sea Dogs’ reliever Kyle Martin in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 11-9, but Portland was able to rally for two more runs in the ninth to tie the score.

Roberson stepped to the plate in the 10th inning with two runners on and needing just a triple to complete the third cycle in Sea Dogs’ history, and delivered with a three-base hit to center field that scored Jantzen Witte and Oscar Tejeda to give Portland the 13-11 lead.

“Just one of those nights, I saw the ball well,” Roberson told Kelsie Heneghan of MiLB.com. “Almost speechless and never expected that, but I’m blessed and happy that we got the win, most importantly. To do it at the professional level, and at the place I’m in here and in this moment, I’ll definitely remember this one for the rest of my life.”

Portland wasted no time in the series’ third game, scoring five times in the first inning and never looking back. They added two more in the second on a Witte home run and a sacrifice fly by Keury De La Cruz, and scored single runs in the third and fourth to win by a final score of 9-4.

Justin Haley took the mound for the Sea Dogs for Sunday’s rubber game, and was able to earn his first victory of the season after tossing six innings and allowing just two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out eight.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning, Blake Tekotte hit a two-run homer to give Portland the 3-1 lead, his first home run of the season. Carlos Asuaje added a RBI single in the seventh, to give Portland the 4-2 lead.

The Sea Dogs have an off-day Monday before returning to Hadlock Field to take on the Altoona Curve for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night at 6:00 PM.

Mike Augliera Shines in Sea Dogs 4-1 Victory Over Binghamton Mets

Portland Sea Dogs

The Portland Sea Dogs won their series opener against the B-Mets at NYSEG Stadium on Monday night by a final score of 4-1, led by a strong pitching performance from Binghamton University alumni, Mike Augliera.

Augliera allowed six hits and two walks over five innings, allowing just one run anSea Dogsd striking out three. The victory was his first on the season, bringing his record to 4-1 with a 6.65 ERA.

Mets’ starter, John Gant, retired the first two batters in the top of the first inning before allowing two two-out singles to Jantzen Witte and Oscar Tejeda. With Keury De La Cruz at the plate, Tejada was picked off first, but a throwing error by Gant allowed Witte to score the game’s first run.

Brandon Nimmo, one of the New York Mets’ top prospects, scored the lone run for the Mets on a fielder’s choice by Jayce Boyd in the third inning. Augliera was able to get Josh Rodriguez to line out, however, to end the threat.

Portland came right back in the next frame, after Reed Gragnani singled to start the inning and Luis Martinez drilled a two-run home run to make the score 3-1. After Jonathan Roof and Blake Tekotte reached and were moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Mike Miller, second baseman Carlos Asuaje roped an RBI single, making the score 4-1.

Kyle Kraus and Kyle Martin provided scoreless relief in support of Augliera, tossing four combined shutout innings on just three hits and a single walk, while striking out three. Kyle Martin earned the save for his performance, his second of the season.

The Sea Dogs and Mets will look to continue their four-game series at NYSEG Stadium on Tuesday night, as Mike McCarthy takes the mound for Portland at 6:35 PM. Portland returns home after the four-game set to take on the New Britain Rock Cats at Hadlock Field starting Friday night at 6:00 PM.

Photo Credit: Kyle Leeds Photography

Sea Dogs’ Jantzen Witte Making Transition from Third to First Look Easy

Jantzen Witte sea dogs

Jantzen Witte has been one of the Portland Sea Dogs best hitters to this point in the season, posting a .348/.392/.500 line with seven extra-base hits, 19 runs batted in, seven runs scored and six walks in 18 games.

He began his transition from third to first base in Spring Training last sJantzen Witteeason, and so far has made the job look easy, posting a .996 fielding percentage at first base over 960 career innings.

“Last year I kind of got moved over there the last day of Spring Training, and then played the majority of my games at first,” Witte told Yawkey Way Report. “I actually felt okay with it.

“As far as ground balls and things like that, I don’t think it’s a huge adjustment, but as far as my footwork around the bag and picks and things like that, it looks so easy, but there’s a lot of stuff going on. A lot of moving parts that I think a lot of people don’t realize. That’s something that I am still working on.”

Witte was selected by the Red Sox in the 24th round of the First-Year player draft in 2013 out of Texas Christian University. He was named to the 1st-Team Academic All Big-12 Team his senior year, when he hit .293 with 15 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 34 runs batted in.

The 25-year old talked about how his college baseball career has helped ease the transition into professional baseball, although there are some major differences.

“I think anybody that played college baseball, they have so many more reps than these guys [that come out of] high school,” he said. “The earlier levels of [professional baseball] we have so much more experience in close ball games, and so many AB’s [while] facing some pretty good arms.”

“I think the hardest thing to do is be consistent in pro ball, [because] you play so many games—[Double-A] is where the level is that everyone is at an even playing field.”

So far this season, the New England weather has had little effect on the Ft Worth, Texas native.

“In college we played in places like Air Force in Colorado in the snow. When we were in the Mountain West, BYU, you know we’re up in the snow, it’s icy, so it’s something I have played in before,” he said. “It might take an extra one or two sprints to get loose, but you know, you just got to play the game regardless of what the temperature is like.”

In 181 career minor league games, Witte is hitting .293/.361/.457 with 13 home runs, 54 doubles, eight triples and 122 runs batted in while splitting time between third and first base.

Witte Goes 4 for 5, as Sea Dogs Unable to Complete Sweep of Phils

Sea Dogs

Jantzen Witte had a big day Sunday for the Portland Sea Dogs, going 4 for 5 with a home run, two doubles, three runs batted in and two runs scored, but they were unable to complete the three-game sweep of the Reading Fightin Phils, losing by a final score of 6-5.

Luis Diaz got the start for Portland, lasting 5 2/3 innings while allowing four earned runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five. The loss is Diaz’s second of the season, bringing his record to 0-2. Sea Dogs

The Sea Dogs made things interesting heading into the ninth down 6-3, when Jantzen Witte hit a two-out, two-run double to make the score 6-5. Oscar Tejeda was unable to keep the rally going, however, striking out on three pitches to end the game.

Portland opened the series on Friday with a 3-0 victory, with William Cuevas earning his third win of the season by tossing five shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk. Relievers Pat Light and Dyan Diaz combined for four shutout innings in support of Cuevas.

First baseman David Chester got the scoring started for the Sea Dogs in the top of the second inning, drilling a two-run home run to left-center field. They added another run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from catcher Luis Martinez.

Justin Haley took the mound for Portland in the middle-game of the series, but left after just 1/3 of an inning with what appeared to be a right groin injury. Simon Mercedes provided strong relief after coming in to replace Haley, allowing just one earned run on three hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first two innings, Keury De La Cruz was able to drive in the first run of the ball game on a single to right field which scored Oscar Tejeda. Portland added three more runs in the eighth, on RBI hits by De La Cruz and Luis Martinez to make the final score 4-1.

The Sea Dogs will head to Binghamton, NY on Monday night for the first time this season to take on the 2014 Eastern League Champion Mets, with the game one of the series scheduled for 6:35 PM.

Photo Credit: Forrest Mulheron Photography

Sea Dogs Swept By Binghamton Mets

Portland Sea Dogs

After splitting their four-game weekend series with the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate Trenton Thunder, the Sea Dogs were swept in three games by another New York affiliate, the Binghamton Mets.

New England Patriots’ hero, Malcolm Butler, attended the series opener on Monday night, Sea Dogsthrowing out the first pitch, and was available to the fans for pictures and autographs. The game, however, was suspended after two innings due to inclement weather and resumed as part of a double-header on Tuesday.

Luis Diaz got the start in the opener, allowing two earned runs on a single hit and three walks over two innings. Jonathan Aro took the mound when play resumed on Tuesday, taking the loss after allowing seven runs, six of them earned, on six hits and a walk.

The Sea Dogs scored seven runs on RBI hits by Oscar Tejeda, Kevin Heller and Jantzen Witte, but that was not enough against the Mets’ 11-run attack.

Mike Augliera took the loss, bringing his record to 0-4 on the season, in the second game of Tuesday’s double-header, lasting only 3 1/3 innings while allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits and a base on balls. The Sea Dogs’ lone run in the 7-1 loss came on a strikeout and wild pitch by Mets’ pitcher Beck Wheeler, allowing Reed Gragnani to score from third.

Portland dropped the third and final game of the series by a score of 8-3 on Wednesday night, with Sea Dogs’ starter Mike McCarthy taking the loss to bring his record to 2-2. McCarthy allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks over four complete innings.

Portland took their only lead of the game in the bottom of the first inning on a run scoring wild-pitch by Mets’ starter Rainy Lara, allowing Mike Miller to score. First baseman Jantzen Witte followed that up with an RBI ground out to give the Sea Dogs a 2-1 lead going into the second. Portland’s catcher, Luis Martinez, added an RBI double which drove in Keury De La Cruz in the fourth, but that was all the offense the Sea Dogs could muster.

The Sea Dogs will have an off-day Thursday, before resuming play in Reading, PA against the Fightin’ Phils on Friday night at 7:05 PM.