TRENTON, NJ – Cito Culver had a hand in all three runs scored for the Thunder and the pitching staff held Akron RubberDucks to just one unearned run in a 3-1 victory for the Thunder on Monday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
Eric Ruth and Mike Clevinger dueled into the fifth inning before the Thunder offense finally broke through. With two on and two out, Cito Culver dropped a base hit into right to score Danny Oh and when Jordan Smith committed an error, Tyler Austin came around to score from first for a 2-0 Thunder lead.
Ruth would pitch into the sixth and tie a season-high with seven strikeouts on Monday night. The right-hander improved to 8-4 and lowered his season ERA to 3.04.
Akron scratched out their only run the seventh inning when Yandy Diaz drove in Justin Toole with a single off Matt Tracy. The run scored two batters after Tyler Austin’s error in right field allowed Bryson Myles to reach.
The Thunder added an insurance in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Danny Oh. It appeared that two runs had scored on the play, however, home plate umpire Junior Valentine determined that Tyler Austin was tagged out at third before Ali Castillo arrived at home at the same moment to keep the game at 3-1, Thunder.
In the top of the ninth, Akron threatened with runners on second and third and one out. Yandy Diaz chopped a ball to third and Dante Bichette Jr. came home to get Ronny Rodriguez at the plate and hold the score at 3-1. Cesar Vargas finished the game by getting Bradley Zimmer to ground out harmlessly to second with the tying run on first base.
Culver led the Thunder offense by going 2-for-2 with a walk, a run scored and a run driven in. Ali Castillo extended his on-base streak to seven games with a pair of hits and Danny Oh also went 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI.
Your Thunder will play game two of their series with Akron on Tuesday night. It’s Jewish Heritage Night and Super Value Tuesday at ARM & HAMMER Park. The Thunder will send RHP Rookie Davis (1-0, 4.80) to the mound, Akron will start RHP Duke von Schammann (1-1, 5.40). Listen live to Thunder baseball on 91.3 WTSR and online at Trentonthunder.com beginning at 6:40pm on Tuesday evening.