New Britain, CT - The Rock Cats fell short in both ends of Friday evening's doubleheader, losing by the scores of 6-4 and 6-0 at New Britain Stadium.
Portland's offense in the early innings proved to be enough to power the visitors to the 6-4 victory. New Britain starter D.J. Baxendale was tagged for six runs on nine hits over five innings, seeing his record fall to 0-2.
The visiting Sea Dogs put together a two-out rally in the top of the third, collecting four runs on a two-run single by 1B Travis Shaw and a two-run home run for LF Carlos Rivero.
New Britain responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning. After C Matt Koch collected the first hit of the game for the Cats, SS Corey Wimberly brought him around with a double to deep right-center to cut the Portland lead to three.
Shaw collected his third and fourth RBIs on the night with a home run over the left-center wall, putting Portland up 6-1 in the fifth inning.
The Rock Cats started to mount a comeback in the bottom half of the fifth, scoring three times and pulling within two. With runners on second and third, CF Mike Kvasnicka cracked a double out to center to score 2B Brad Boyer and Koch. DH Nate Hanson plated Kvasnicka the following at-bat on a single out to center. The offensive surge would fall just short however as that is all the run support they would receive.
New Britain reliever and Major League veteran RHP Matt Guerrier pitched well in relief - allowing no runs on three hits while walking one and striking out three, including back-to-back strikeouts with runners on first and third in the top of the seventh.
Boyer suffered an apparent hamstring injury while legging out a ground ball in the bottom of the sixth inning. He would leave the game.
Portland starter RHP Keith Couch improves his record to 3-0 on the season and reliever RHP Noe Ramirez earned his first save of 2014.
The nightcap began in similar fashion - with Portland jumping out to an early lead against starter LHP Taylor Rogers. SS Derrik Gibson led off the top of the third with a single and LF Peter Hissey drove him home with a double that fell just fair in deep leftfield. CF Shannon Wilkerson followed that with a single up the middle to plate Hissey and put Portland up 2-0.
Portland continued the attack in the fifth, scoring four runs on five hits, highlighted by the three-run home run from C Blake Swihart. 1B Stefan Welch also chipped in with an RBI single to make it 6-0 in favor of the Sea Dogs.
Sea Dogs starter LHP Mickey Pena was very sharp en route to his second win of the season (2-0). He carried a no-hitter through 3 1/3 innings, ultimately going 4 1/3 innings while striking out 11. The lefthander allowed two hits while walking one with no runs allowed. The three Portland pitchers (Pena, Michael Olmsted and Miguel Celestino) combined for 16 strikeouts in the seven inning win.
Rock Cats starter LHP Taylor Rogers fell to 0-3 on the year, allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits while walking one and striking out five over 4 1/3 innings.
New Britain would suffer another apparent injury when CF Corey Wimberly and LF Reynaldo Rodriguez collided while tracking a falling line drive in left-center. Rodriguez appeared to take the brunt of the hit, but was able to walk off under his own power.
New Britain will throw LHP Sean Gilmartin for Saturday night's finale against the Red Sox affiliate. The Sea Dogs send RHP Mike Augliera to the hill for the 6:35 p.m. contest.