(PR) New Britain, CT- For the second straight night, Thunder pitchers gave up ten or more hits to the Rock Cats and could not keep the lead, as New Britain came away with a 10-7 victory on Saturday night. However, with New Hampshire losing on Saturday, Trenton (83-57) clinches the Eastern League Eastern Division and will have home field advantage for the playoffs.
The division title marks the third in Tony Franklin’s four seasons as the Thunder skipper. “I don’t think we won the division the way we wanted to win it yet, because we have the playoff series with New Hampshire,” Franklin said. “But I feel good about (the title) because this is a team that has worked hard and stood every test that was thrown at them and overcame some rough spots. So winning the division does feel good.”
Trenton took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as Justin Christian doubled to lead off the game and extended his hitting streak to 18 games. Daniel Brewer then smacked an RBI double to drive in Christian. New Britain answered back in the bottom half of the first, as RHP Adam Warren gave up two runs on four hits in the frame. The right-hander ended up allowing four runs on six hits and walking three batters, including two with the bases loaded in 4 1/3 innings of work.
After a solo home run by Marcos Vechionacci gave Trenton a 3-2 lead after four innings, the Rock Cats responded with a pair of runs over the next four innings each, including two off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (1-1) in the bottom of the seventh inning. Venditte allowed four hits in the frame, highlighted by an RBI double from Estarlin de los Santos.
The Thunder scored four runs late in the game to cut New Britain’s lead to just one run, but the Rock Cats came away with two runs in the bottom of the eighth to extend their lead, and Billy Bullock (2-4) retired the side in the top of the ninth as New Britain avoided the possibility of losing 100 games with two games left to play.
The Thunder and Rock Cats square off in the third game of the four game set on Sunday afternoon starting at 1:35 PM. RHP Cory Arbiso will start for Trenton, as New Britain will throw RHP Matt Williams. Catch all the action on 107.7 FM The Bronc or online at http://www.trentonthunder.com
With the division wrapped up, the Thunder will open up the 2010 Eastern League playoffs at home on Wednesday, September 8 at 7:05 PM. Game two will be played on Thursday September 9 at 7:05 PM and a potential Game five on Sunday, September 12 at 5:05 PM (if necessary). Tickets for these playoff games at Waterfront Park are on sale by calling (609) 394-3300 or online at http://www.trentonthunder.com