Thunder Hold off Furious Rally in 13-10 Win
PORTLAND, ME - The Thunder offense got off to a hot start, accumulating ten runs on 12 hits through the first five innings, however, Portland refused to go quietly in a 13-10 win on Saturday night at Hadlock Field.
With a run in the first inning, two in the second, three in the third and three more in the fourth, the Thunder offense showed they were ready for battle against Sea Dogs starter Denyi Reyes. Jorge Saez plated a pair in the second inning with a single and the offense sent seven men to the plate in the third inning leading to three runs, two earned. Saez worked a walk to begin the fourth inning against Reyes and scored when Hoy Jun Park buried a triple into the right field corner. After a strikeout of Kyle Holder, Ben Ruta and Brandon Wagner knocked back-to-back doubles to chase the Sea Dogs starter from the game.
After five innings at the plate, every Thunder batter had reached base and scored a run in support of starter Garrett Whitlock. Whitlock allowed two hits over the first four innings and finished his outing after a inducing a double play ball off the bat off Bobby Dalbec in the sixth. The right-hander allowed just four baserunners and struck out six when recording his third quality start of the season.
Trailing 10-1, Portland mounted their rally with eight runs crossing in the seventh. Luke Tendler reached on an error by pitcher James Reeves to start the inning and after a strikeout, the Sea Dogs loaded the bases with a walk and a single. Jhon Nunez drove in a run with a groundout to short, making it 10-2, and Keith Curcio came to the plate with two in scoring position. Curcio lifted a fly ball to right-center that right fielder Jhalan Jackson made a diving catch on, however, the umpires ruled that Curcio's bat hit catcher Jorge Saez's glove which extended the inning. Jonathan Ortega then drew a bases loaded walk and CJ Chatham cleared the bases with a double to make it 10-6. Bobby Dalbec followed with a double to left to close the gap to 10-7 and after a pitching change brought Jose Mesa Jr. into the game, the Sea Dogs continued their rally. Tendler drew a four-pitch walk and Tate Matheny doubled in two runs with a liner to right-center. Mesa Jr. finally ended the inning with a strikeout of Joseph Monge and the Thunder clinging to a 10-9 lead.
Thanks to the two errors committed in the inning, every run in the inning was unearned as the Sea Dogs marched 13 batters to the plate and recorded just four hits.
Jorge Saez re-ignited the Thunder offense with a two-run homer to right-center in the eighth inning to put the visitors ahead 12-9. Saez finished a terrific day at the plate 3-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and five runs batted in. Saez's five RBI's were the most for him since July 25, 2012 when he drove in seven while playing for the rookie-level GCL Blue Jays.
Kaleb Ort allowed a run in the eighth inning, but, came back to deliver a scoreless ninth inning and record a six-out save. He struck out four batters during his outing.
Ben Ruta's four-hit day launched him into the Eastern League lead with 21 hits on the season. It was the third four-hit game of Ruta's professional career.
Your Thunder go for the sweep on Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm against the Sea Dogs. RHP Nick Green (1-0, 8.03) will start for the Thunder, RHP Tanner Houck (1-1, 8.00) will go for Portland. Pre-game coverage begins at 12:45pm on 920 AM The Jersey and online www.TrentonThunder.com/Broadcast.
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