Senators find only coal in their stockings as Sea Dogs sweep doubleheader

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After dropping the first game of the doubleheader, 9-3, against the Sea Dogs, the Senators found themselves down 2-0 early in the nightcap with Portland starter Trey Ball in control the first time through the Harrisburg batting order. The Sea Dogs looked well on their way to a doubleheader sweep.

But the Senators got to the southpaw in the bottom of the fourth as Jose Marmolejos led off the inning with a walk. Raudy Read followed with a double off the left field wall and then Dan Gamache rolled a single up the middle to score both runs and even the game up at two.

The momentum had definitely shifted in Harrisburg’s favor as Drew Ward followed with another single to put runners on the corners with no outs. But just as quickly, Ball worked out of the jam as the Senators failed to get the go-ahead run in as Stephen Perez struck out, Jake Lowery popped out to the catcher in foul territory, and Khayyan Norfork flew out to right field.

Buoyed by the turn of events, Portland re-took the lead against Harrisburg reliever Jimmy Cordero. Deiner Lopez led off the inning with a single, was balked to second, sacrificed to third, and scored on a wild pitch. The Sea Dogs weren’t done in the frame either as Henry Urrutia punctuated the rally with a three-run home run just to the right of the batter’s eye in dead center.

“We got back in it, then we just didn’t pitch,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “We just have to do a better job all around. We didn’t take advantage of scoring opportunities and our pitching late didn’t help. That’s where we’ve been at all year, trying to find that shutdown inning and not letting the momentum go back to the other dugout. It happened in the first game and it happened in the nightcap.”

Harrisburg would get one back as Marmolejos clubbed his second homer of the night, but Portland responded with two more as Portland outfielder Jeremy Barfield did one better with his second long ball of the game. That put the finishing touches on the Sea Dogs’ 8-3 victory.

***

In the opening game of the double dip, Portland overwhelmed Harrisburg starter Greg Ross to win going away.

The Sea Dogs drew first blood as Michael Chavis launched a two-run home run in the top of the first.  But Marmolejos answered him with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the inning to put Harrisburg up 3-2.

That was all the offense the Senators could muster, but not the Sea Dogs as they pounded out nine runs on 10 hits and three walks off Ross.

***

Lastly, I had to get the skipper’s thoughts on the Senators’ giveaway for the night, the Santa LeCroy bobblebelly.

“You saw by the crowd that it was a big hit,” LeCroy said tongue in cheek. “I’m sure I’ll have a big line of them out here to sign after the game.”

LeCroy’s 9-year old son Noah was a little blunter in his assessment: “I was expecting the belly would be bigger.”

***

Osvaldo Abreu was held out of both games of the doubleheader with some tightness in his calf, but LeCroy clarified that it was merely a precautionary measure…reliever Kyle Schepel worked the final two scoreless innings in the first game…Brady Dragmire was called on to make the spot start, only his second of the season in 31 appearances, and tossed four solid innings as he allowed two runs in the nightcap.

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