The rain postponed opening night for the Trenton Thunder, but it did not dampen the talent currently on the roster of the Yankees Double-A affiliate. A big 8-run seventh inning that included a homerun by top prospect Aaron Judge solidified the Thunder victory over the Erie SeaWolves.
Miguel Sulbaran got the start for the Thunder, the 21-year old left-hander struggled a bit, allowing two runs on three hits and four walks over three innings of work, throwing 73 pitches to Erie hitters.
The Thunder fell behind early when Sulbaran gave up a run in the bottom of the first, but managed to tie the game in the top of the third thanks to a passed ball by SeaWolves catcher Austin Green allowing Jose Rosario to score. After Sulbaran allowed another run in the bottom of the third the Thunder would retaliate with two-runs of their own in the fourth to put them ahead for good.
Greg Bird led off the top of the fourth reaching base on a fielding error by the first baseman. Gary Sanchez then worked a walk before Eric Jagielo singled to right field on a grounder, loading the bases for Dante Bichette Jr. Bichette grounded into a double play that went around the horn and bringing home Bird to tie the game and move Sanchez to third. With two outs now on the scoreboard Mason Williams lined a single down the left field line to put the Thunder ahead.
Jake Cave added some insurance in the top of the fifth when he hit a homerun to right field.
Joel De La Cruz earned the win for Trenton, throwing three hitless innings out of the bullpen, striking out two batters on 30 pitches.
The icing on the cake for the Thunder came in the top of the seventh inning and started off with a line drive double to left field by shortstop Cito Culver. Culver moved to third when Jose Rosario laid down a sacrifice bunt but a throwing error by the pitcher allowed him to reach base. Next Jake Cave singled to center on a line drive to bring home Culver. The tall right-fielder Aaron Judge then promptly cleared the bases with a homerun to centerfield.
Greg Bird was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Gary Sanchez. Eric Jagielo reached base on a fielding error by the right fielder also moving over Sanchez to third. With one-out Mason Williams was intentionally walked to bring up Cito Culver for his second at bat of the inning. Culver grounded into a force out at second that scored Sanchez and set up Jose Rosario for a 2-RBI double.
The Trenton offense were not done yet as they plated three more in the top of the eighth inning. Aaron Judge and Greg Bird hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. After a fly out by Gary Sanchez, Eric Jagielo grounded out to first that brought Aaron Judge home and moved Bird over to second. Dante Bichette Jr. would then homer to left centerfield on a line drive, plating the 14th and 15th runs of the game for the Thunder.
Cesar Vargas pitched two innings of no-hit ball, allowing just a walk before Alex Smith pitched a scoreless inning to finish the game. Every Thunder batter had at least one hit in the game, led by Jake Cave who went 4-for-6 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Greg Bird scored three times while Aaron Judge was 2-for-6 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs. Dante Bichette Jr and Cito Culver were the only two other Trenton players with more than one hit in the game.
Today at 1:35pm these two teams will meet again with Taylor Garrison taking the mound for the Thunder.