BINGHAMTON, NY — The Thunder took multi-run leads into the bottom of the 9th and 11th innings, and Evan Rutckyj made it stick with a scoreless 11th for a 6-3 victory over the Binghamton Mets.
Tyler Austin returned to the Thunder lineup after starting the season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes- Barre and he carried the load offensively on a night when the Thunder bats were held to one hit through the first six innings off Gabriel Ynoa. Austin got the start in right field and went 3-for-4 with a walk, double, home run, stolen base, RBI and three runs scored.
With one out in the top of the 7th inning and the Thunder trailing 1-0, Austin stepped to the plate before a gathering crowd of 4,877 fans. He stroked a pitch from Ynoa deep to left field to tie the game 1-1. In the 9th inning the Thunder scored a pair of two-out runs on the back of an RBI single by Tony Renda and RBI double by Danny Oh. In the bottom half of the inning, however, Binghamton had runners at second and third base with two outs when Jared King double home both runners to tie the game.
The 13th inning began with a leadoff hustle double by Austin to right-centerfield. Mark Payton was up next and laid down a sacrifice bunt to third base to advance Austin, but Binghamton third baseman, Josh Rodriguez sailed his throw into the crowd to score Austin and put Payton at second base. After Tony Renda was retired on a line-out to right field which advanced Payton to third, the Mets intentionally walked Danny Oh to put runners at first and third base with one out. Dan Fiorito was retired without the runners advancing, and with the team leading only 4-3, Francisco Arcia tagged a two-run double over the head of Jared King in right field for a 6-3 lead.
A leadoff single against Evan Rutckyj was quickly eliminated with a double play, and he stuck out Vince Belnome one batter later to end the ballgame.
With the victory, the Thunder pull to within 2.5 games of Binghamton for the east division Wild Card spot. The Reading Fightin Phils erased a three-run deficit in the bottom of the 8th inning against the New Britain Rock Cats and have jumped ahead of the B-Mets by a half game for first place in the division.
The Thunder and Binghamton Mets return to action Saturday night with a scheduled 7:05 p.m. first pitch at NYSEG Stadium. Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 91.3 FM or online at www.trentonthunder.com.