Thunder Take Commanding 2-0 Series Lead

Down 3-0 in the sixth inning with Clay Buchholz on the mound, things were not looking good for the Trenton Thunder.

One swing of Austin Jackson’s bat quickly changed all that.

“He just threw me a pitch that I could hit,” said Jackson of his three-run, game-tying home run.

“But he was great all night, he’s one of the better pitchers that we’ve seen this year.  Great command, great changeup.  All his pitches were pretty sharp tonight.  (The home run pitch) was a curveball, it was up.  I saw it as soon as it came out of his hand.”

The immediate beneficiary was Jeff Marquez, who was on the hook for the loss until then.  He allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks, and didn’t seem to have his best stuff tonight.

“I feel like I did a good job battling, but that fourth inning where I gave up those two walks is kind of where it turned around,” Marquez said.

“But the relievers came in and did their job.  Humberto (Sanchez) came in and did a good job, Gardy did a great job, then Arias and Valdez.  They all had good games, and thankfully Jackson came through with a bomb.  Overall, it was just a good game and I’m just glad we won.”

Sanchez, the mighty righty who’s currently on a Major League rehab assignment with the Thunder, said he felt good after throwing an inning just three days after his Monday start.

“I just pretty much went out and challenged people,” said Sanchez, who gave up one hit and struck out one batter.

“I felt great, my stuff felt great.  It was good to bounce back.  These guys are pretty hyped up about this, and it’s a great feeling to be around this.”

The game took its final turn in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Dave Gassner walked Chris Malec and Colin Curtis singled Malec over to third, all with two outs.

Gassner was lifted in favor of T.J. Large, who threw a juicy first pitch offering to one of the most clutch players in the history of the Thunder, P.J. Pilittere.

Pilittere laced a single to right field, drove in Malec and gave the Thunder a 4-3 lead that they would not relinquish.

“All you can really do in that situation is try and tell yourself that the pressure is on the pitcher, but it’s easier said than done,” Pilittere said.

“I like being up there with some guys on.  That’s what every guy wants to do, everybody wants to be the guy to drive in some big runs or to give the team a lift.  It was an unbelievable feeling to drive in that run and get it done in regulation.  The last thing you want to do is play 13 or 14 innings here and then go on a bus and go play tomorrow after a long night.”

After the game, Thunder manager Tony Franklin was low-key, but still pleased with his club’s victory.

“It was going to be difficult if Buchholz was on, and he was certainly on,” he said.

“I didn’t expect any less, to be honest with you.  It was going to be a tough battle, but we hung in there.  Marquez did a good job keeping us close.  Three runs evidently wasn’t large enough to overcome.  I’m pretty happy with this win, believe me.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

One Response to “Thunder Take Commanding 2-0 Series Lead”

  1. mbn Says:

    One more!! C’mon guys, get it down tonight.

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