Sports

Reading returns home, drops series opener to Portland

Olt's blast powers Portland past...

READING, Pa. - The ball met Mike Olt’s bat and sounded like a firecracker that echoed through Baseballtown. It came on a 1-2 pitch from Miguel Nunez, who was one strike away from sending a 2-2 tie into the bottom of the 11th inning. But Olt’s sixth home run of the season sailed over the center field wall, giving the Sea Dogs their second straight extra-inning win before 4,202 at FirstEnergy Stadium. The loss sent the Fightins to 1-10 in their last 11 games as the teams prepare for a doubleheader Wednesday night beginning at 5:15 PM.

In one of the best starting pitching matchups of the season, there was no question Drew Anderson was the better man than Jalen Beeks. Anderson reverted back to his dominant ways and retired the first seven batters he faced to start his night. He was given a 2-0 lead in the first inning on three straight singles from Scott Kingery, major league rehabber Daniel Nava, and center fielder Carlos Tocci. With one out, Jiandido Tromp worked a bases-loaded walk, snapping Beeks’ personal scoreless innings streak against the Fightins at 22-and-a-third. Angelo Mora followed with a fielder’s choice groundout and an RBI, but the Phils wouldn’t score for the rest of the night.

Anderson allowed two runs in the fifth inning to tie the score, surrendering one out singles to Cole Sturgeon and Jake DePew. A sudden balk pushed the tying runs into scoring position, and the Sea Dogs pounced with a sacrifice fly from Deiner Lopez and an error on a ball hit by Danny Mars.

Portland nearly took the lead in the top of the seventh, getting more contributions right out of the gate from Sturgeon and DePew. Strugeon drew a walk despite falling behind 1-2, and DePew’s sacrifice bunt back to Anderson was juggled several times for an error. A strikeout of Lopez and a groundout by Mars put runners at second and third for former Phil Josh Tobias, and Anderson ended his night with an emphatic strikeout. Over 7.0 innings, he had eight strikeouts and threw 108 pitches to establish a new career high.

Beeks was fine after the first two innings, retiring 10 straight at one point before Tocci’s two out infield single in the fifth. A caught stealing sent it to the sixth, where Andrew Pullin would pick up his first of two singles before a strikeout and a double play ball allowed Beeks to face the minimum. Over his last five innings through the seventh, the Fightin Phils went three up and three down each time.

Reading had one chance to end the game before extras when Mora singled with two outs in the ninth off lefthander Josh Smith (2-0), who bounced a wild pitch which pushed Mora up to second. Kyle Martin grounded out to send it to extra innings, where the Sea Dogs would wait until the 11th to grab their first lead.

Jesen Therrien retired all six batters he faced in the ninth and tenth, adding four strikeouts over that stretch to set the stage for Nunez (0-4). Following a one out single by Nick Longhi, Jeremy Barfield popped out to short, bringing up Olt. The veteran got a hold of an off-speed pitch and cranked it over the wall in center to give the Sea Dogs their first lead at 4-2. Red Sox 40-man roster member Luis Ysla allowed a two out single to Pullin in the bottom of the eleventh, but closed the door for his first save of the season to get the Sea Dogs (23-23) back to within a half game of the Fightin Phils (24-23).

Game recap courtesy of the Reading Fightin Phils.


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