F-Cats even up Portland series

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PORTLAND, MAINE – For the second night in a row, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats got out to an early lead; this time though, they kept it.

New Hampshire defeated the Portland Sea Dogs 5-3 on Friday night, a needed victory following the previous night’s slow-motion implosion and a difficult week preceding the All-Star break.

A first pitch blast by Connor Panas gave New Hampshire a two-run lead heading into Portland’s first time to the plate, but it appeared that the Sea Dogs would even things up before the second.

Instead, Portland’s Jordan Betts transformed a bases loaded situation into a 6-4-3 double play, allowing New Hampshire hurler Tyler Saucedo to escape unscathed.

New Hampshire added two more runs in the second, and although an RBI single from Michael Chavis reduced New Hampshire’s lead to three runs by the end of the third, Fisher Cat shortstop Bo Bichette responded half an inning later with an RBI single of his own, his second RBI of the night.

In the bottom of the third, Betts repented for his earlier failure, giving Portland a solo home run. However, the pitching from both sides hunkered down after that.

Saucedo (1-1) lasted 5 2/3 innings in the start, allowing five hits and a pair of walks against five strikeouts.

Portland did manage one more run in the eighth, but eventually Travis Bergen shut the door, returning in the ninth to earn his first save of the year.

Teddy Stankiewicz (5-8) got the loss, allowing six hits over seven innings of work. The loss puts him to 2-1 on the year against New Hampshire, with an ERA of 5.60 over those three games.

At the plate, Jeremy Rivera, Nick Lovullo and Tate Matheny had two hits each for Portland. Bichette had half of New Hampshire’s hits, ending with a 4-for-5 night.

Saturday holds a 6 p.m. contest at Hadlock Field for the two teams, as New Hampshire sends T.J. Zeuch (6-3, 3.21 ERA) against Portland’s Mike Shawaryn (4-7, 3.65 ERA)