Thunder Prevail in Late Innings over Fightins
READING, Pa. - Back-to-back RBI-doubles by Matt Lipka and Hoy Jun Park in the eighth inning and resilient relief work by Greg Weissert lifted the Thunder past the Reading Fightin Phils, 7-5, on Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.
With two out in the top of the eighth, Wendell Rijo drew a walk from Reading left-hander Jakob Hernandez (5-1). During the next at-bat, Rijo broke for second base on a pickoff throw by Hernandez. As Rijo slid into second, first baseman Alec Bohm's throw sailed into left field, allowing Rijo to take third. Lipka softly lined a double down the right field line to plate the go-ahead run, and Park followed with a double to left field to drive in an insurance run.
The lead carried into the bottom of the ninth, where Weissert took the mound for his second inning of relief. After issuing a leadoff walk and a hit-by-pitch, Weissert induced a flyout before walking Nick Maton to load the bases. But Weissert then bore down, striking out Alec Bohm and Darick Hall to seal the Thunder's eighth win in nine games.
Andrew Bellatti (2-0) earned the win with one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, bridging the gap to Weissert behind Thunder starter Clarke Schmidt. The Yankees prospect, making his Double-A debut, struck out five batters over five and one-third innings but was charged with five runs on nine hits.
Isiah Gilliam had given the Thunder (29-27, 67-55) a 3-0 first-inning lead with a three-run homer off Phillies prospect Spencer Howard. After a two-run homer by Henri Lartigue brought the Fightins (32-24, 71-52) within one run in the second inning, the Thunder re-extended their lead to 4-2 on a Kellin Deglan solo homer in the fourth.
Reading rallied for three runs off Schmidt in the bottom of the fourth, getting an RBI-double from Cornelius Randolph before a bases-loaded two-RBI single by Jose Antequera put the Fightins in front, 5-4.
Howard departed after five innings for Reading, and an RBI-single by Park off reliever Jonathan Hennigan in the sixth inning pulled the Thunder even, 5-5.
Lipka's eighth-inning double extended his on-base streak to a season-high 10 games, while Ben Ruta went 3-for-5, recording his first game of three or more hits since May 3.
Your Thunder continue their road trip on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. against the Fightin Phils. RHP Albert Abreu (5-8, 4.04) will start for the Thunder, and LHP David Parkinson (9-7, 3.57) will go for Reading. Pregame coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. on 920 AM The Jersey or online at TrentonThunder.com/Broadcast.
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