PORTLAND — The Portland Sea Dogs gave their fans something to cheer about in their home opener at Hadlock Field on Thursday. Leadoff batter Tzu-Wei Lin hit four foul balls into the seats, Aneury Tavarez hit another to follow, then hit one into the field. The hits kept coming for the Sea Dogs, who beat the visiting Hartford Yard Goats 8-5 in front of an announced sellout crowd of 7,368 fans.

Tavarez started a three-hit bottom of the first for the Sea Dogs (4-4), leading to three runs against Yard Goats (5-3) starter Antonio Senzatela.

“We had an aggressive approach today,” Sea Dogs DH Jake Romanski said. “We were up there ready to roll from pitch one.”

The Colorado Rockies’ No. 9 prospect according to Baseball America didn’t make it out of the third inning. After giving up a lead-off walk to Lin to start the third Senzatela received a visit from the Yard Goats’ trainer, then was lifted after throwing 40 pitches.

Left-handed reliever Carlos Hernandez came in and got out of the inning but didn’t fare as well in the fourth. A lead-off double by Rainel Rosario turned into another three-run frame. Henry Ramos followed with a single, Rosario scored on a Romanski RBI groundout, Tim Roberson drove in Ramos with a double, and No. 9 hitter Jose Vinicio completed the rally with an RBI single.

Two more runs came across against Hernandez in the fifth, thanks to a Jantzen Witte RBI double and RBI single from Roberson — who tallied four RBIs after entering the game with one through the first seven games.


“It’s just how it goes sometimes. I got an opportunity with guys on today and I came through,” Romanski said.

Kevin McAvoy gave the Sea Dogs a much better start. He gave up a one-out single in the top of the first, then set down 14 of the next 15 batters, including 11 straight, before allowing a lead-off single to Hartford No. 9 hitter Zach Osborne to open the sixth.

“I was getting ahead of guys, which really helped out,” said McAvoy, who called the early 3-0 cushion a confidence boost. “And I got good feel for my changeup later in the game to keep guys off-balance. But just getting ahead and staying aggressive really worked out well.”

Osborne was wiped off the bases thanks to a double play, but then McAvoy ran into trouble to end his outing. Pat Valaika drew a two-out walk, then a double by David Dahl drove in the Yard Goats’ first run, knocking McAvoy out of the game.

“Early in the season, it’s cold out still. I was a little fatigued last inning,” McAvoy said.

Mitch Atkins came on in relief and gave up a walk and an RBI single before striking out Jan Vazquez to end the rally.


McAvoy gave up just two runs on three hits in 5 2-3 innings to earn his second win of the season. The right-hander struck out five and allowed just one walk while throwing 52 of his 86 pitches for strikes.

Atkins settled down for a 1-2-3 seventh inning, then gave way for left-hander Luis Ysla, who had an unsettling start to his outing. Hartford leadoff hitter Raimel Tapia started the eighth with a single, then scored on Valaika’s triple. Dahl then drove in two runs with a home run into the Sea Dogs bullpen in right field to cut the deficit to 8-5. Ysla settled down himself to retire the next three batters and get out of the inning.

“I have a lot of confidence in our bullpen,” Sea Dogs manager Carlos Febles said. “There’s no worries at all.”

There was some worry with Ysla, who was just two strikes away from finishing off the win, after retiring the first two batters of the top of the ninth, when he got a visit from the Sea Dogs’ trainer. Ysla couldn’t finish, and Rob Wort came on to close out the game, turning an inherited 2-1 count into a strikeout of Osborne on a full count.

“He felt something in his arm. I haven’t heard from the trainer yet,” Febles said of Ysla. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious.”

The eight runs was a season-high for the Sea Dogs, who came into the home opener averaging 3.6 per game.


“We’re like a scrappy team,” Romanski said. “We pride ourselves on running the bases well and we want to be as aggressive as possible under control.”

Romanski might have been a little two aggressive on his first-inning hit, trying to stretch a single into the outfield into a double. But he said he had no regrets about the play, which he said was close anyway and a calculated effort to get into scoring position. Witte found himself out at second as well after a fly ball to shallow right dropped in for a hit in the third.

The Sea Dogs piled up 13 hits after getting into Portland less than 13 hours before the 6:14 p.m. first pitch. There was no hangover for an offense that was shut out in Trenton on Wednesday.

“To watch them swing the bat the way they did, it was real impressive,” Febles said.

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