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.

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 Split Doubleheader With Rock Cats

Sea Dogs

After weather postponed the series opener on Monday night, the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs managed a split with the New Britain Rock Cats, at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, CT.

Justin Haley took the mound for the Dogs in the first game of the twin bill, surrendering four earned runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out three over 3 1/3 innings.Sea Dogs Justin Haley The loss is the second of the season for Haley whose ERA now stands at 8.38.

Ryan Carpenter started opposite Haley for the Rock Cats, and held the Sea Dogs to just two hits over seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just two hits and a single walk.

The score remained tied at zero until the bottom of the fourth, when Juan Ciriaco hit a fly ball single to center field to drive in the first two runs of the game. Rockies top position prospect David Dahl then reached on an error which scored a run, before Tyler Massey drove in Ciriaco with a single to left field.

The Sea Dogs were able to end the rally there, but unable to generate any offense and lost by a final score of 4-0.

Portland’s offense wasted no time getting started in the second game, scoring four times in the first on a pair of two-run doubles by Reed Gragnani and Blake Tekotte. They added another run on a Jantzen Witte sacrifice fly in the second and three more on RBI hits by Witte and Oscar Tejeda in the fourth.

Robby Scott got the start for the Sea Dogs in the nightcap, tossing four shutout innings and allowing only three hits and no walks, while striking out four. Boston’s 22nd prospect, according to SoxProspects.com, Simon Mercedes, completed the final three innings for the 8-1 victory, his first ever in Double-A. Mercedes allowed just one run on one hit, while walking two and striking out five, including his final batter of the game.

Justin Haley Looking to Build on 2014 Campaign With Sea Dogs

Justin Haley

23-year old Justin Haley looked impressive in his six starts with the Portland Sea Dogs last season, going 3-2 with a 1.19 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings pitched. He earned a win in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs against the Binghamton Mets, firing six scoreless innings while allowing only five hits and a walk, striking out eight.

Although his time in Portland last season was brief, he was able to learn a few tJustin Haley hings from Red Sox top pitching prospects, Brian Johnson and Eduardo Rodriguez, that he’s looking to apply this season.

“Being able to watch guys go out and throw, go out and compete, keep their composure, I think that’s going to be the greatest thing I learned from some of the veteran guys.” he told Yawkey Way Report. “Just keeping your composure under pressure and being able to shrug off a bad outing, or maybe a bad inning, and go out there and dominate the next one.”

Although Portland was unable to advance out of the first round of the Eastern League playoffs last season, after winning a franchise-best 88 games and graduating 14 players to Triple-A Pawtucket, Haley attributed some of last year’s success to the Red Sox organization’s emphasis on player development and creating a winning atmosphere.

“Every guy in the clubhouse wants to win; win a championship every year and it boils down to winning every game, we go out there every night trying to win,” he said.

“It inspires me. We have a great organization. One that uses guys and really develops guys, I think is a big part of it. Being able to see yourself at that next level really helps, seeing guys be successful at that level, it helps you be able to focus and know that you can make it that far.”

Although inspired by the thought of pitching at the next level, Haley has not let that idea distract him from staying focused on the job at hand.

“Those thoughts don’t help me pitch. I am in the game of throwing strikes, that’s what I do, that’s what I stick to, and that’s what’s going to make me successful. Anything else is just noise.”

Currently ranked the 35th top prospect by SoxProspects.com, Haley has struggled in his first two starts for Portland this season. The Sacramento, CA native owns a 0-1 record with a 7.11 ERA while allowing a .333 opponent batting average. The Sea Dogs hope he can build on what he learned from Johnson and Rodriguez last season, shrugging off his less-than-stellar start and getting back to being the effective pitcher he has been in the past.