(PR) (Portland, ME) – Behind five strong innings from Manny Banuelos, the Trenton Thunder (41-30) beat the Portland Sea Dogs (25-44) 6-2 Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep from Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine. Banuelos allowed just two runs in five innings and struck out six to pick-up his third win of the 2011 season. Eight of nine Thunder hitters had hits as Bradley Suttle provided the knock-out punch at the plate for the Thunder with his two-run double in the top of the seventh.
Trenton struck first in the ball game when the team brought home four runs in the top of the fourth inning off of Sea Dog starter Chris Balcom-Miller. With nobody out and two runners on, Jose Pirela lined a double down the left field line to drive in the game’s first run. Damon Sublett and Jose Gil followed with RBI-singles to give the Thunder a 3-0 lead. The Thunder added another run on a missed catch error at first base by Balcom-Miller and took a 4-0 advantage.
Protecting a two-run lead in the top of the seventh inning, the Thunder looked to add a few insurance runs. With runners on second and third and one out, Bradley Suttle smashed a line drive double to the wall in centerfield to score two and give Trenton a 6-2 lead.
The six runs would be plenty for Thunder pitchers in the victory. Starter Manny Banuelos hurled five, solid innings of two-run ball and did not allow a hit until his final frame, the fifth. Pat Venditte then took over and spun three innings without allowing a run. Finally, Kei Igawa hurled a scoreless ninth to give Trenton the win.
On Friday, the Thunder will head to New Britain, Connecticut, to play the Rock Cats for the first time in 2011 as a three-game set will get underway. The Thunder have not officially named a starter for Friday’s game, while New Britain will send RHP Bobby Lanigan (5-5, 3.77) to the mound at New Britain Stadium. Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR-FM and on trentonthunder.com. The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 6:20 PM.