(PR) (New Britain, CT) – Phil Hughes was sharp in a Major League rehab appearance for the Trenton Thunder (41-32), but the New Britain Rock Cats (39-30) walked off to a 3-2 victory on Friday night at New Britain Stadium. Long after the New York Yankee righty had left the game, Drew Parmelee drew a bases loaded walk with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Rock Cats their fifth consecutive win. Ray Kruml homered for the Thunder in game one of a three-game set.
Hughes, celebrating his 25th birthday, retired the first seven men that he faced and cleanly worked around a double and a walk in the third. Expected to last about 75 pitches, Hughes was pulled from the game with one out in the fourth after allowing a lone run on an infield single. In all, he hurled 72 pitches, 42 for strikes. The righty, who spent parts of two Minor League seasons with the Thunder in 2006 and 2007, was placed on the Disabled List on April 15 with an inflamed shoulder after making three Major League starts earlier this season for the Yankees.
Runs were scarce for both teams in the contest as the Thunder and Rock Cats were tied 1-1 heading to the ninth. The only Thunder run to that point was a solo homerun by Ray Kruml in the top of the third, his third career Double A homerun.
Trenton broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth on a Jose Pirela sacrifice fly, but the Rock Cats answered back with two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Shaeffer Hall, who had thrown four scoreless innings leading up to the frame, allowed a two-out, two-strike double to tie the game at 2-2. Naoya Okamoto took over after Hall surrendered a walk then walked the only two men he faced, one to load the bases and one to bring home the winning run.
The Thunder, seven games into a nine-game road swing, have now lost five games on the trip. Trenton will play two more against the Rock Cats in New Britain before a homestand begins at Waterfront Park on Monday.
Trenton will welcome lefty Steve Garrison (0-4, 6.75) back to the starting rotation as the Ewing native gets the pearl for the Thunder in game two of the three-game series Saturday night at 6:35 PM. New Britain will counter with Brett Jacobson (3-0, 1.92), the reigning Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. 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.