RICHMOND, Va. – After dropping the first five games of the roadtrip, the Trenton Thunder rebounded and took their third straight game from the Richmond Flying Squirrels Friday night at The Diamond.
Thunder starting pitcher Caleb Smith scattered four hits over six shutout innings for his fifth win of the season. The southpaw was able to induce a pair of double plays to avoid trouble in the early innings as the offense went to work providing a 2-0 lead.
On a night where Thunder bats recorded 12 hits- all singles- they were paced by multi-hit nights from Cito Culver, Greg Bird, Dan Fiorito, Jose Rosario and Eddy Rodriguez. Bird, who had just 2 hits in 23 at-bats on the roadtrip entering the night, finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored.
The lone jam that the Thunder staff found itself in came in the bottom of the 8th inning when Richmond loaded the bases with two outs off Cesar Vargas, trailing 3-0. Mark Montgomery entered and got Ricky Oropesa to ground out to Tony Renda on the second pitch of the at-bat to end the threat. Montgomery recorded the final four outs of the game to record his eighth save in eight opportunities this season in Double-A.
Thunder pitchers extended their scoreless inning streak to 12 with the victory, and in the current three game winning streak have allowed three earned runs over 23.0 IP (1.17 ERA).
With the victory and a loss by the New Britain Rock Cats, Trenton moves into a tie for first place in the East Division for the first time since April 23.. They are now 1.5 games ahead of Reading and 2.0 games ahead of Binghamton in the playoff picture as the season approaches the end of June.
The Thunder begin a six-game homestand Saturday night against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats with a 7:00 p.m. scheduled first pitch. It’s the first of three games between the two teams with RHP Kyle Haynes (1-4, 2.55) taking the ball for the Thunder against New Hampshire’s RHP Casey Lawrence (5-8, 5.54). Saturday’s ballgame features pre-game coverage beginning at 6:40 p.m. on 91.3 FM WTSR and online at www.trentonthunder.com.