Portland, Maine - The Portland Sea Dogs (86-53) scored early and held on late to take down the Harrisburg Senators (52-87) 3-2 Friday night at Hadlock Field. The win coupled with Binghamton's loss to Richmond clinched the East Division crown for the Sea Dogs, their first since 2005 and fifth division title in franchise history.
Portland wasted no time and jumped on the board with a run in the first against Harrisburg's righty Omar Poveda. Shannon Wilkerson began the game with an infield single and Mike Miller followed with one of the same to put two on with nobody out. Two batters later it was the red-hot Keury De La Cruz that crushed a double to right-center and plated Wilkerson to make it 1-0 Portland.
The 'Dogs went quietly in the next two frames, but tripled the lead with another pair of unearned runs in the fourth. The first two reached in the inning, but Wilkerson popped a bunt up, at the plate, which the Senators' catcher caught on a dive and fired to second, doubling off Jonathan Roof who was stealing on the pitch.
Despite the double play, Portland kept the rally alive courtesy of a Matt Skole error on a Mike Miller ground ball, which put two in scoring position for Sean Coyle. The second baseman ripped a single to right, which plated two and upped the Portland lead to 3-0.
Mike Augliera was on the bump for the Sea Dogs and he remained his steady self. The righty allowed the leadoff man to reach in the first, but retired the next seven in order. He continued to work well and delivered five scoreless before allowing a run in the sixth.
Harrisburg had the best scoring chance of the night in the inning and capitalized with the lone run. Quincy Latimore doubled with one out and scored on Kevin Keyes' single, which cut the Portland lead to 3-1. Augliera (8-10) worked through the rest of the inning, stranded a pair, and kept it 3-1 'Dogs.
Wilfredo Boscan bridged the gap over two scoreless innings before Noe Ramirez took over in the ninth. Jason Martinson led off the top half of the final inning with a triple to the right-centerfield gap and scored when Ramirez balked and made it a 3-2 ballgame.
The righty battled back and retired the next three in order, locking down his 17th save of the season, the win for Portland, and the 2014 East Division title as the Mets fell at the same time Portland was heading into the top of the ninth inning. The win for the 'Dogs also upped the win total to 86, tying a franchise-high set in 1995.
Poveda (1-3) battled through five innings allowing the three runs, one earned, on eight hits; he walked a batter, hit a batter and struck out seven. Colin Bates pitched the final four innings in scoreless fashion to round out the game.
The 'Dogs and Sens resume the final series of the year with game two of four, Saturday night at 6:00 PM from Hadlock Field. RHP Justin Haley (2-2, 1.47) is slated to go for Portland against Harrisburg's LHP Felipe Lopez (2-6, 4.38). Coverage begins at 5:40 PM on the WPEI U.S. Cellular Sea Dogs Radio Network. MiLB.TV coverage begins at 5:55 PM.
The Sea Dogs will face the Binghamton Mets in the first round of the playoffs, which get underway on Wednesday, September 3rd. The first two games will be played in Binghamton, New York. The Sea Dogs will host game three at 6:00 PM on Friday, September 7th and games four and five, if necessary, on Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th. Tickets for all playoff games are currently on sale.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.