TRENTON, NJ – The Thunder fell behind the Portland Sea Dogs early, but two runs in a decisive bottom of the eighth inning gave the Thunder a 4-2 victory and a series sweep Wednesday afternoon.
Before a Camp Day crowd of 5,578 fans the Thunder found themselves tied with the Sea Dogs 2-2 entering the eighth. The first batter of the inning against the newly-inserted Portland reliever was Tony Renda who walked, but then was caught stealing for the first out of the frame. The next two batters walked as well, bringing Juan Graterol to the plate with one out and runners at first and second base. He blooped a singled to center which loaded the bases for Cito Culver.
Culver fell behind in the count to Jerez 0-2 before bouncing a groundball to the second baseman Carlos Asauje for a fielder’s choice out at second base, after Culver beat the return throw to first base as they looked for an inning-ending double play. Rico Noel followed the at-bat with an RBI bunt single with runners at first and third base to give Trenton a 4-2 cushion heading into the last inning.
Mark Montgomery closed out the Thunder victory Tuesday night and he pitched a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday for his 12th save in 13 opportunities with the Thunder this season.
The win marks the first series sweep of the season at home for the Thunder and just the second series sweep of the season overall (June 2-4 @ Binghamton). Trenton goes 5-2 on the homestand and keeps pace ahead of Reading in the Wild Card standings after the Fightin Phils earned their second straight walk-off win over the Erie SeaWolves, 9-8.
Thursday morning, the Thunder will pile on the bus and head south to Bowie, MD to begin a four-game series against the Bowie Baysox. Prince Georges Stadium has been a tough place to play for the Thunder the past two seasons with the Thunder going 0-13 there since the start of 2011.
Thursday night, first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with RHP Brady Lail (6-3, 2.24) taking the ball for the Thunder against Bowie LHP Ariel Miranda (0-0, 0.00). Pre-game coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on 91.3 FM or www.trentonthunder.com