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Caleb Smith pitched six solid innings, but faltered the seventh Tuesday night. (Robert M. Pimpsner)

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Offense, Pitching Sparkle as Thunder blank Portland

PORTLAND, ME. – Early offense off Portland Sea Dogs starting pitcher Mike Augliera provided all the offense necessary in the Trenton Thunder’s series-opening 5-0 victory Thursday night at Hadlock Field.

Following a rainy day, temperatures at gametime settled in the low 40’s with the sun absent for most of the contest. The Thunder used an 11-hit, 5-walk attack off of Augliera in his 4.1 innings pitched to establish an early advantage over the Sea Dogs.

In the first two innings the Thunder struck for three two-out runs to create a cushion between them and the Sea Dogs. After Jake Cave and Aaron Judge were both retired to begin the game, Greg Bird and Eric Jagielo followed with consecutive doubles to begin the scoring. The next batter was Gary Sanchez, and he singled through the left side of the infield. Even though Jagielo was being held at third base, the ball snuck under the glove of Portland’s charging left fielder which allowed Jagielo to score and Sanchez to hustle all the way around to third base.

In the second, Cave singled up the middle to score Dante Bichette Jr. from second after he reached on a walk, to give the Thunder a 3-0 lead. Trenton added two more runs in the 4th inning for a 5-0 lead which was more enough for the staff.

Pitching was dominant for Trenton with a combined shutout from starter Caleb Smith, Caleb Cotham and Nick Goody in which the trio notched a season-high 14 punchouts for Thunder pitching. Trenton, who entered the night 5th in the Eastern League with 3.36 ERA, lowered that figure to 3.11 after the shutout. In 14 games this season, the Thunder staff has allowed more than 3 earned runs just twice.

For Smith, the start was his fourth career Double-A start, and he earned his first career Double-A win. He entered having allowed at least three earned runs in each of his first two starts this season, but tossed five shutout innings on four hits while striking out five.

The victory for the Thunder is the team’s third straight and improves them to 9-5 on the season after a 3-3 start. With the victory off the right-handed starter, Augliera, Trenton is 9-2 against righty starting pitchers this season.

The Thunder get back to action Friday against the Sea Dogs when RHP Luis Severino (1-0, 0.90) opposes Portland’s RHP Mike McCarthy (1-1, 8.00) for a scheduled 6:00 p.m. first pitch. Coverage begins on the Thunder Radio Network beginning at 5:45 p.m. with the Trenton Thunder Pre-Game Show.

This post is a press release courtesy of the Trenton Thunder Media Relations Department.

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