Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sea Dogs Fall Again

(Trenton, NJ) - Austin Jackson hit a game-tying three-run home run off Clay Buchholz in the sixth inning and P.J. Pilittere hit a tie-breaking two-out RBI single in the eighth inning, lifting the Trenton Thunder to a 4-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in Game 2 of the Eastern League Northern Division Championship Series.

Portland threatened in the ninth inning after Jorge Jimenez singled and Ryan Khoury walked with one out. However, Jose Valdez induced Zach Daeges to hit into a game-ending double play.

Portland had base runners in seven innings and multiple base runners in six of those stanzas, but were 5-for-17 with runners on base, including just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Mickey Hall laced a two-out, two-run double to snap a scoreless tie for the Sea Dogs in the fourth inning, and Daeges added a run-scoring single in the fifth inning.

Buchholz fanned nine of the first 18 batters he faced, including one in each of the first five innings. He allowed only two singles and a walk in the first five frames and struck out the side in the fifth. However, in the sixth inning, Reegie Corona and Ramiro Pena started the frame with singles before Jackson's blast on a 2-2 pitch. Jackson, who hit safely in 14 of the last 15 games he played against Portland in the regular season, failed to get a sacrifice bunt down before launching a curveball over all three levels of signage in left field.

Buchholz finished with six innings of three-run, six-hit ball, walking one and striking out nine. Richie Lentz followed with a perfect seventh inning.

But in the eighth inning, Trenton scored the go-ahead run with a two-out uprising. Dave Gassner replaced Lentz and retired the first two batters before walking Chris Malec and allowing a single to Colin Curtis. T.J. Large entered the game, and Pilittere ripped the first pitch into right field for his third hit of the game to plate the go-ahead run.

Portland snapped a scoreless tie off Jeff Marquez in the fourth inning with a two-out rally. Marquez walked Josh Reddick and Iggy Suarez to set up Hall, who smacked a two-run double over the head of right fielder Edwar Gonzalez.

In the fifth, Jorge Jimenez drilled a double to start the frame. One out later, Daeges singled to right for his third hit of the game to give the Sea Dogs a three-run cushion.

Marquez kept it scoreless early, stifling Portland rallies in the first and third frames. Jimenez and Daeges singled in the first, but Marquez got Aaron Bates on a flyout and fanned Lars Anderson. In the third frame, Ryan Khoury and Daeges hit consecutive two-out singles, but Bates flew out with runners on the corners to end the inning.

Humberto Sanchez worked around a one-out double in a scoreless sixth inning. Michael Gardner walked two in the seventh inning, but Wilkins Arias came on to get Lars Anderson to pop up to end the inning.

Arias tossed a perfect eighth but left with one out in the ninth after allowing a one-out single to Jimenez. Jose Valdez relieved and walked Khoury before getting the twin killing from Daeges to end the game.

NOTES: Portland is facing Trenton in the Northern Division Championship Series for the fourth straight season, but lost a Game 2 for the first time to the Thunder - the Sea Dogs won at home in 2005 and at Waterfront Park in 2006 and 2007... Argenis Diaz was a late scratch, taken out of the lineup a half-hour prior to first pitch. Suarez moved to shortstop from second base and Khoury was inserted into the lineup in the #2 hole... The start was the first post-season start for Buchholz since September 6, 2006, when he fanned 10 in six innings in a 3-1 win for the Wilmington Blue Rocks over the Frederick Keys in the Carolina League playoffs... Former Sea Dog Devern Hansack tossed six no-hit innings for Triple-A Pawtucket in its playoff series Game 2 with Scranton-Wilkes Barre - Jon Switzer lost the no-hitter with one out in the seventh inning in relief but Pawtucket beat Scranton 3-1 to tie their series at one game a piece... The series will shift to Portland Friday night at 7 - Ryne Lawson (1-1, 4.06) goes for the Sea Dogs against Jason Jones (13-7, 3.33), who was second in the Eastern League in wins and 7th in ERA in the regular season. Tickets remain for the contest and are available on seadogs.com or at the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 879-9500

Courtesy Mike Antonellis

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