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Thunder starter Ronald Herrera, left, chats with catcher Kyle Higashioka during Tuesday night's game. (Photo by Martin Griff)

Higashioka Homer Difference for Thunder

TRENTON, NJ – Back on June 14, catcher Kyle Higashioka, after earning International League Player of the Week honors, talked about coming back to Trenton.

“I had a good time in Scranton, but I’ll play where they have me,’’ said Higashioka. “I just want to play.’’

And play he has with the Thunder since then, batting .284 (55-for-189) with 11 homers and 46 RBIs in 54 Double-A games overall, as the Trenton cleanup hitter. That 11th home run, in the bottom of the eighth inning, made the difference in the Thunder’s (58-38) 3-2 win over the Portland Sea Dogs (35-60) Tuesday night before 4,122 fans.

Reliever Tyler Jones (5-2) earned the win with his second straight solid performance, a scoreless two-inning stint. The 26-year-old native of Milwaukee, who pitched collegiately at Louisiana State, has benefitted, according to Trenton manager Bobby Mitchell, in a change in mechanics.

“Tyler is doing better because we have him pitching out front,’’ said Mitchell. “He has the stuff.’’

Jonathan Holder recorded his 10th save with a scoreless top of the ninth. Trenton starter, righty Ronald Herrera, pitched solidly allowing two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out three

Trenton jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a bases-loaded walk to Higashioka and a fielder’s choice off the bat of Mark Payton. Portland tied in the bottom of the sixth on a triple by Andrew Benintende and single by Nate Freiman, Portland’s Yoan Moncada was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.

The Thunder close this homestand at 11 Wednesday morning. Righty Vicente Campos will face Portland righty Kevin McAvoy.


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