Ryan Lavarnway put the Portland Sea Dogs ahead with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Unfortunately for the visitors, the lead did not last. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats scored four times in the eighth inning for a 6-3 comeback win at MerchantsAuto.com Stadium.
The Sea Dogs opened the scoring with one run in the second and one in the third. Ryan Lavarnway and Jorge Padron started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a pair of strikeouts, Matt Sheely singled to left field. Padron was tagged out at third base, but Lavarnway managed to score. Portland's second run came in the next inning, when Nate Spears hit a one out homer to right field. The home run was Spears' 18th - tying him with Anthony Rizzo for the team lead.
New Hampshire answered one of those runs in the bottom of the third on an unfortunate break for the Sea Dogs. With one man on and two outs, Eric Thames lifted what appeared to be a routine fly ball to left field. However, Matt Sheely misplayed the catch, allowing Callix Crabbe to score, while Thames took second. In the fourth inning, the Fisher Cats tied the score, as David Cooper homered on the first pitch of the frame.
Both starting pitchers received no-decisions with relatively short outings. Stephen Fife lasted four innings for Portland, allowing two runs (one earned), four hits, and three walks, while striking out one. Scott Richmond went five innings for New Hampshire, allowing two runs and six hits, while striking out eight.
The pitching change ended up being good news for the Sea Dogs, who regained the lead off of reliever David Purcey. With two outs and a 3-1 count in the sixth, Ryan Lavarnway launched a solo shot to left field. Lavarnway now has six home runs since reaching Double-A, with three of those coming on the current road trip.
Portland held that lead until the eighth, when the Fisher Cats staged their comeback. Callix Crabbe led off with a double, and was followed by a hit batsman and two singles. One of the singles was by Adam Calderone, tying the game at three. Jonathan Jaspe played into the Sea Dogs' hands with a double play, but the visitors weren't out of the woods yet. After Adam Loewen was intentionally walked, Jonathan Diaz took a questionable pitch on 3-2, drawing a walk to bring home the go-ahead run. On the very next pitch, Luis Sanchez singled in a pair, giving New Hampshire a 6-3 lead.
Danny Farquhar (3-3) earned the win, pitching three hitless innings out of the New Hampshire bullpen. Daniel Turpen (2-1) was the losing pitcher for Portland, allowing four runs in his lone inning of the game.
The Sea Dogs and Fisher Cats will play game two of their four-game series on Friday night at 7:05. Alex Wilson (3-4, 6.41) will make the start for Portland, while BJ LaMura (5-5, 3.89) will get the call for New Hampshire.