TRENTON, NJ – Before a season-best crowd of 7,765 fans at ARM & HAMMER Park, the Trenton Thunder fell to the Reading Fightin Phils, 4-2.
Cale Coshow turned in a quality start in his second appearance with the Thunder, but Reading got to the bullpen for a pair of runs in the 7th inning to break a 2-2 tie. Conor Mullee entered in back of Coshow to begin the 7th inning and walked the first two batters he faced. The next batter was Brodie Greene who tried to advance the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Instead, Mullee bobbled the ball back to him and the bases became loaded on the error.
The next batter was leadoff man Nick Williams who turned over a groundball through the hole in the right side to plate Art Charles and Angelo Mora with what proved to be the game-winning runs.
In the bottom of the 9th inning against closer Stephen Shackleford, the first two batters for the Thunder were retired before Tony Renda reached on a throwing error by defensive replacement Harold Martinez. It brought the potential tying run to the plate in Ali Castillo, but the Thunder DH flew harmlessly to centerfield to end the ballgame. Shackleford extended his Reading single-season record for saves in a season with his 27th in 29 opportunities.
Coshow was touched for four runs over 4.0+ innings his first start with the Thunder in Binghamton, but he allowed just one earned run over 6.0 against Reading. He scattered three hits and walked a pair while striking out three on 90 pitches (52 strikes).
The Thunder offense was held to just three hits in the ballgame, though five men reached via walks by Reading starting pitcher Jake Thompson. With Tyler Wade on first base and one out in the 4th inning, Tyler Austin doubled to put runners on second and third base for Mark Payton. The Thunder leftfielder produced a run with a grounder at first baseman Brock Stassi for a 1-0 lead. After Reading took a 2-0 lead in the top of the 5th, Tony Renda led off the bottom of the 5th with a game-tying homer. The blast was his first in 193 at-bats with the Thunder and just his second of the year overall.
The attendance for Saturday’s game marks the 20th highest attendance figure in franchise history, eclipsing the 7,742 fans who showed up last year against the Altoona Curve when Mariano Rivera made an appearance at ARM & HAMMER Park.
With the loss, the Thunder lose ground on Reading for first place in the East Division and are now 6.0 games out of first place with 23 games to play. Meanwhile, the New Britain Rock Cats won a second straight game over the Binghamton Mets so the Thunder stay just 2.5 games out of the Wild Card.
The Thunder and Fightins return to action Sunday with a scheduled 5:00 p.m. first pitch. RHP Michael Pineda is scheduled to throw 45 pitches or 3.0 innings as he works back from a right forearm strain that has sidelined him since July 30. This season, the 26-year-old has made 19 starts for the Yankees compiling a 9-7 record with a 3.97 ERA. Pineda previously made two rehab starts with the Thunder in 2013 in his recovery from shoulder surgery. On June 25, 2013 against the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers), Pineda threw six innings of shutout baseball at ARM & HAMMER Park. Pineda, who was acquired by the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners in January 2012 in exchange for former Thunder C Jesus Montero and RHP Hector Noesi, started again five days later at Binghamton and surrendered four runs in three innings pitched.
Limited tickets are still available for Sunday’s game by calling (609) 394-3300 or going to www.trentonthunder.com/tickets.