Reading Fights Back, Falls in Final Tuneup, 8-7
(TRENTON, NJ) - Cornelius Randolph delivered a game-tying blow with two outs in the ninth inning, but the Thunder walked off on an Alexander Palma RBI single in the bottom of the ninth as the Fightins dropped the final game of the regular season, 8-7 on Monday afternoon at Arm & Hammer Park.
Luke Williams swiped three bases to set his career-high with 30, while Randolph and Alec Bohm each went yard in the loss.
The Fightins settled for a split of the four-game set, and finished the regular season 80-59 overall. Reading went 41-31 as the second half champions in the East.
Reading struck quickly after Williams walked and stole second in the top of the first. After Cornelius Randolph's fly ball to left allowed Williams to advance to third, Bohm opened the scoring with an RBI single to right.
Darick Hall followed with a bloop hit to center, and Josh Stephen grounded a base hit up the middle to plate Bohm. With two down, Arquimedes Gamboa added a single to left, scoring Hall to make it 3-0.
Trenton (38-34) (76-62) got all three back facing Colton Eastman in the bottom half. A two-out walk to Chris Gittens preceded a Kellin Deglan single and a three-run home run from Isiah Gilliam.
Angel Aguilar put Trenton on top in the second inning, lifting a solo shot to left field to push the Thunder ahead, 4-3. Back-to-back doubles by Max Burt and Ben Ruta extended the Trenton lead to 5-3.
The Fightins pulled to within one in the fifth, after Williams singled and stole two bases. He crossed the plate when Bohm's tapper back to the mound was mishandled by pitcher Albert Abreu, pulling Reading to within one.
Edubray Ramos entered in the bottom of the fifth, making a rehab appearance as the Phillies right-hander recovers from a right shoulder impingement that has sidelined him since July 16.
The Thunder struck for a pair of solo shots against Ramos, with Gittens launching his league-leading 23rd, and Gilliam added his second of the day to put Trenton ahead 7-4.
Gilliam finished with two homers and four RBIs for the Thunder, and took a run off the board for the Fightins when he robbed Williams with a leaping catch over the left field fence.
Bohm closed the deficit to 7-6 in the eighth inning. Facing reliever Matt Wivinis, Randolph singled and Bohm launched a two-run home run to left for his 14th Double-A blast, and his 21st total this season.
Down to their final out, Randolph brought it back even in the ninth. On a 3-1 pitch, Randolph unloaded a no-doubter to right for his 10th home run of the year, tying the ballgame at seven.
Trenton had the last word, as Aguilar singled off Garrett Cleavinger (3-2) and Ruta walked with one out. Palma sent the Thunder home with the win, singling to center to plate Aguilar.
The playoffs begin on Wednesday, when the Fightins host the Thunder in game one of the East Division Series at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 610 ESPN and the Fightins Radio Network beginning with the Fightins Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m.
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region and was voted the #1 stadium in all of Double-A by MiLB's Ben Hill. Follow the Fightins on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins. Purchase playoff tickets TODAY - call or TEXT 610-370-BALL or visit the Weidenhammer Ticket Office at FirstEnergy Stadium.
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