(PR) (Reading, PA) – The Trenton Thunder (27-18) held on for a 3-1 victory Thursday afternoon to sweep the Reading Phillies (24-21) in a three-game series at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Jose Pirela homered for the first time at Double-A and Craig Heyer threw six scoreless innings to lead the Thunder to the sweep. The win extends the Thunder’s season-long winning streak to seven and marks the team’s second straight three-game series sweep.
The Thunder got to Reading starter B.J. Rosenberg early in the game and grabbed a 1-0 lead. Thunder second baseman Jose Pirela came to the plate with none on and one out in the top of the first and sent a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left field. It was Pirela’s first homerun in a Thunder uniform and his first at the Double-A level.
Looking to extend their one-run lead, Pirela was at first base for the Thunder with two outs in the top of the fifth. Bradley Suttle lined a triple into the gap in right centerfield, scoring the speedy Pirela from first base and giving the Thunder a 2-0 lead.
The Thunder added a run on a bases loaded walk in the sixth, and the 3-0 lead was plenty for their starter, Craig Heyer. The righty hurled his best performance of the season, shutting down the R-Phils to the tune of two hits in six scoreless innings. Heyer used three inning-ending double plays to escape his first three frames unscathed.
Things got very interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning when Fernando Hernandez came in to attempt his eighth save of the season. Hernandez would allow a run to score on a one-out bases loaded single by Stephen Susdorf to cut the Trenton lead to 3-1. Josh Schmidt would then come in with the bases loaded and the winning run at first. The reliable righty struck out the only two men that he faced and preserved the 3-1 win for the Thunder with his fourth save of the season.
The Thunder will open a four-day, five-game Memorial Day weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine, Friday at 7:00 PM. The Thunder will send Yankees top left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos (1-0, 1.96) to the mound. Banuelos will face Portland’s RHP Stolmy Pimentel (0-6, 7.56). Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on trentonthunder.com. The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:45 PM.