Sea Dogs drop season opener

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NORWICH, Conn. (AP) – Nate Schierholtz hit a two-run homer and Chris Begg pitched seven strong innings as the Connecticut Defenders beat the Portland Sea Dogs 5-1 Thursday in the Eastern League.

The Defenders (1-0) made their league debut under their new name. The former Norwich Navigators changed their name in the offseason in an effort to regionalize the team in eastern Connecticut.

Begg (1-0) became the first pitcher in franchise history to start back-to-back Opening Days. He allowed one run on two hits in seven innings with five strikeouts and a walk.

The righthander retired 12 straight batters after allowing a home run to Luis Jimenez in the second inning.

David Pauley (0-1) picked up the loss for Portland (0-1). He allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Schierholtz hit his first Double A home run, a two-run shot in the first inning to give Connecticut a 2-0 lead. The Defenders added another run in the third on Eddy Martinez-Esteve’s sacrifice fly that scored Schierholtz (double, error) from third.

Justin Knoedler added a run for Connecticut in the fifth on an RBI single. Martinez-Esteve made it 5-1 in the sixth with an RBI double.

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