Portland lefthander Drake Britton and a pair of Sea Dogs relievers combined to shutout the Akron Aeros, 3-0, Thursday afternoon in the wrap-up of a three-game series at Hadlock Field.
The Sea Dogs (50-62) took two out of three in the series, shutting out the Aeros twice in the process. In fact, the Aeros were held scoreless in 26 of the 27 innings in the series, only scoring in the fourth inning of Wednesday night's game.
Britton (3-4) worked the first five innings Thursday, and took a bend-but-don't break approach, surrendering six hits and walking three. Relief help came from righthanders Ryan Pressly and Josh Fields, who each threw two shutout innings. Fields finished up for his eighth save.
Already leading 1-0, the Sea Dogs cut down the potential tying run at the plate in the fourth when Thomas Neal attempted to score from first on a single by Adam Abraham and an error on righthfielder Bryce Brentz. A strong relay to the plate nipped Neal to keep the Sea Dogs in the lead.
The other Aeros threat came in the fifth when they had the bases loaded and two out, but Britton struck out Chun Chen to strand all three runners. Britton fanned six hitters on the day.
All in all, the Aeros collected 10 hits, two more than the Sea Dogs, but stranded all 10 on base. The Aeros were 0-7 with runners in scoring position.
Aeros lefty T.J. House (6-3) pitched seven strong innings for Akron. He allowed only five hits, including a lead-off homer by Jackie Bradley in the first. The Sea Dogs added an unearned run in the sixth inning, taking advantage of a mishandled grounder, to make it 2-0. At one point House retired 11 hitters in a row.
Neal led the Aeros with three hits, raising his batting average to a season-high .320. Abraham and catcher Michel Hernandez had two hits each. Chen, playing for the first time since injuring his thumb on July 8th, was 0-3.
The Aeros will continue the road trip on Friday evening at New Hampshire, as they begin a three-game series against the Fisher Cats. RHP Toru Murata (2-1, 3.86) will get the start for Akron. RHP Deck McGuire (5-11, 5.78) will take the ball for the Cats.