Thunder Rumble Back Late, Win Game 1
READING, Pa. - After being held to two hits through seven innings, the Thunder overcame a two-run deficit in the eighth inning en route to a 4-3 win over the Reading Fightin Phils in Game 1 of the Eastern League Division Series on Wednesday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Spencer Howard turned in a dominant start for Reading, striking out a career-high 12 batters over seven innings, but had his performance overshadowed when the Thunder battled back against the Fightin Phils bullpen.
Trailing 3-1 entering the eighth, the Thunder got their leadoff runner aboard when Max Burt reached on a third-strike wild pitch by Reading reliever Jeff Singer (0-1). Burt then took third on a single to center by Rashad Crawford and scored on a groundball single up the middle by Ben Ruta. Alexander Palma then plated Crawford from third with the tying run on a fielder's choice grounder. Hoy Jun Park followed with a 10-pitch walk, forcing Singer from the game in favor of Garrett Cleavinger. After Chris Gittens walked to load the bases, Kellin Deglan struck out. But Kyle Holder followed by working Cleavinger for a four-pitch walk, forcing home the go-ahead run.
Clarke Schmidt (1-0) preserved the win by retiring the next six Fightin Phils batters in a row. Pitching behind rehabbing Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery, Schmidt worked the final six innings for the Thunder and cruised to a remarkable finish, allowing just one baserunner over his final five frames.
Montgomery struck out four batters over two scoreless innings to begin the game for the Thunder but fell into trouble in the third. Luke Williams laid down a one-out bunt and advanced to third on the play when Montgomery threw wildly past first base. Mickey Moniak plated Williams with a sacrifice fly to right field, and Darick Hall later added an RBI-double for a 2-0 Fightin Phils lead.
Reading produced another run in the fourth inning, Schmidt's first frame of work. With Nick Maton on first, Schmidt uncorked an errant pickoff throw, allowing Maton to take second. Schmidt then balked Maton to third before a sacrifice fly by Arquimedes Gamboa gave the Fightins a 3-0 advantage.
The Thunder plated their first run of the game- and their lone tally against Howard- in the sixth when Palma delivered a sacrifice fly to score Rashad Crawford, who had walked.
Your Thunder continue the Eastern League Division Series on Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Fightin Phils. RHP Rony Garcia (4-11, 4.77) will start for the Thunder, and LHP David Parkinson (10-9, 4.08) will go for Reading. Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on 920 AM The Jersey or online at TrentonThunder.com/Broadcast.
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