Portland suffers another painful loss

Hayhurst began the year in Lake Elsinore

The Beavers squandered what should have been another solid pitching start in front of their second-highest home turnout of 2006.

Dirk Hayhurst's stellar 5.2 IP allowing just one earned run was overshadowed by a phenomenal James Loney performance and faulty down-the-stretch Portland pitching.

Loney, considered by many to be the PCL's finest hitter, was the lone earned run allowed by Hayhurst when Eric Riggs hit a sacrifice fly to Terrmel Sledge. Loney pummeled Beavers pitching, gathering four hits in five at-bats, scoring twice, and delivering a two-RBI double (31) that erased a Beaver lead in the eighth inning.

Sledge continued to be a bright spot in the Portland offense. Twice in the first three frames, Sledge and McAnulty came up big with back-to-back hits that produced early runs for Portland. In the first inning, McAnulty followed a Sledge triple with a homerun to right field, putting the Beavers up 2-0. Again in the third inning, McAnulty doubled in Sledge to make it 3-1.

McAnulty (3-for-3, 1 R, 3 RBI) swung the bat well and took advantage of some outfield miscues by the 51s. Terrmel Sledge (3-for-4, 1 R) continued to be a force for the Beavers on both offense and defense. The contest exhibited Sledge speeding to balls to make plays that many minor league outfielders simply cannot make, or sacrificing his body in late innings to eliminate runs. He appeared to be battling constantly as usual, offering a spark for the Beavers despite an array of career threatening injuries.

Beavers catcher George Kottaras' double coupled with an error by James Loney scored Jack Cust in the fourth inning. That would be the final run of the night for Portland. Justin Leone (1-for-2, 2 BB, 1 SO) doubled in the bottom of the sixth, but was left stranded.

Jared Wells, who lost in eight innings giving up no earned runs and just four hits the night before, came in to pinch-hit in the seventh inning but struck out swinging. Leone walked in the eighth, but was again stranded as the final Portland baserunner in the game.

Jason Anderson (1.1 IP) allowed a hit and a walk but no runs. Recently demoted Jon Adkins pitched a complete eighth inning, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk.

With the Beavers clinging to a 4-3 lead, reliever Scott Cassidy was blasted for five runs on six hits in the top of the ninth inning while failing to record an out. Erick Burke (1 IP, 1 K) was then called upon to put out the flames that had already burned out the Beavers' hopes. In the bottom of the ninth, Portland hitters were retired in order in front of considerably fewer attendants.

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