AKRON, OH — Five hits from the offense, and a late run in the eighth inning was not enough for the Thunder as the Akron RubberDucks sealed a two-game sweep over the Thunder Wednesday afternoon.
Before 1,640 fans at Canal Park starting pitcher Brady Lail made his Double-A debut, and worked through 3.2 innings before running into trouble. With two outs and the bases empty in the 4th inning, Yandy Diaz lined a ball at Dan Fiorito at shortstop and the ball popped in and out of his mitt.
The play was ruled a base-hit, and it would be the start of an offensive rally for the ‘Ducks. Following that play, there was an infield single off the bat of Jeremy Lucas and a throwing error charged to Fiorito which allowed Diaz to advance to third base. There were still two outs in the inning however, but a subsequent wild pitch scored a run, and the next batter Jake Lowery connected on just his second hit of the season to drive home Lucas for a 2-0 ‘Ducks lead.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Thunder trimmed the deficit in half, but nearly broke through for multiple runs. With the bases loaded and one out, Eric Jagielo stepped in against right reliever Clayton Cook. Jagielo stroked a long flyball to the left field wall where Ollie Linton tracked it down on the run for the second out of the inning. Jake Cave was at third base and tagged up to score, but the other two runners held at first and second base. Akron summoned Josh Martin out of the bullpen, and he struck out Dante Bichette Jr. to keep the ‘Ducks ahead by a run.
The loss is the third straight for the Thunder after opening the season 3-0. After outscoring opponents 29-8 in the first three games of the season, the three consecutive losses have each been by one run.
Following the game. the Yankees announced right-hander Joel De La Cruz was optioned back to the Thunder.
The Thunder return home after a season-opening road trip on Thursday to begin a four-game series with the Portland Sea Dogs. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. and tickets are available at TrentonThunder.com/Tickets