TRENTON, NJ – On a second consecutive night with Chase Utley at ARM & HAMMER Park, the Trenton Thunder fell behind early to the Reading Fightin Phils in an 11-1 loss that matched their largest margin of defeat this season.
Trenton trailed 4-0 in the bottom of the third inning when Dante Bichette Jr. unloaded on a Ben Lively offering for his second homer of the season to put the Thunder on the board. The Thunder offense would record just two more hits the rest of the way in the 10-run defeat. The only other game this season ending with the Thunder losing by that many runs was an 11-1 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats April 20.
The only other two hits on the night came from Mark Payton, who extended his hitting streak to a season-best eight games (12-for-30, .400 AVG), and Francisco Arcia who has reached base safely in 34 of his last 38 games played.
Before a crowd of 6.813, Reading’s offense jumped out for 11 runs on 12 hits largely in part to a season-high 4 homers allowed by Thunder pitching. In the first two games of the series, the Thunder pitching has allowed 27 hits to the Fightin Phils with a .346 batting average against. Utley was 3-for-4 with a double, run, walk and RBI to cap his rehab stint. In three games between Lehigh Valley and Reading, Utley is 6-for-11 (.545 AVG) with a pair of walks (.615 OBP).
Reading had multi-homer games from a pair of players, including Nick Williams who finished 4-for-4 with five runs scored. Also cashing-in was the switch-hitting Andrew Knapp who launched a pair of home runs—one from each side of the plate. It was the first time a player in a Thunder game had homered from each side of the plate since July 2, 2001 when Trenton’s Angel Santos did it against the Harrisburg Senators.
The Thunder and Fightins conclude the series Thursday night at ARM & HAMMER Park. The Thunder send RHP Jaron Long (3-2, 3.33) to the mound against RHP Joely Rodriguez (3-2, 5.93). Thursday’s game features post-game fireworks presented by Calkins Media set to 80’s pop hits music. Tickets to all Thunder home games are available at Trentonthunder.com and by phone at 609-394-3300.