(PR) (Harrisburg, PA) – Zoilo Almonte hit a first inning grand slam and Austin Krum had four hits on Saturday night to lead the Trenton Thunder (60-59) to a 7-4 win over the Harrisburg Senators (67-53) at Metro Bank Park. Craig Heyer also hurled 6.1 innings without giving up an earned run. The win, accompanied with a Reading Phillies’ loss, sends the Thunder to a one-game lead in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division’s Wild Card, a spot the team hasn’t occupied since July 31. The win also marks the first win for the Thunder in Harrisburg this season after falling in their first four tries.In the team’s quest to forget about Friday’s walk-off run by Bryce Harper, the Thunder were out of the gates quickly in the first inning. After Austin Krum and Jose Pirela both reached on bunts on the game’s first two pitches, Melky Mesa drew a walk with two outs load the bases. With former Major League Oliver Perez on the mound, Zoilo Almonte then smashed a ball over the 12 rows of seats in left field for a grand slam to put the Thunder ahead 4-0. Almonte’s third homerun of the season was Trenton’s first grand slam since Brandon Laird accomplished the feat on June 24, 2010 at Waterfront Park.
After the Senators climbed back in the game with three runs in the third inning, the Thunder tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth inning. Yadil Mujica singled with one out in the frame and Addison Maruszak then walked. After runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch, Austin Krum lined a single past the pulled-in infield and into centerfield to give Trenton a 6-3 advantage.
An inning later, Melky Mesa launched a one-out solo homerun into the seats in left field to put Trenton back in front by four runs, 7-3. Those seven runs stood as enough for the Thunder on Saturday evening. Craig Heyer lasted 6.1 innings, allowing three runs and no earned runs to pick-up his ninth win of the season for the Thunder. Relievers Chase Whitley and Kanekoa Texeira combined to hurl the game’s final seven outs to preserve the win for Trenton.
The Thunder and the Senators will finish their three-game set on Sunday evening at Metro Bank Park with a 6:00 PM contest. Trenton will give the nod to RHP Graham Stoneburner (1-2, 2.86), while the Senators will send RHP Erik Arnesen (7-3, 2.53) to the Metro Bank Park mound. Tune-in to the game on 91.3 WTSR and online at trentonthunder.com. The SBLI Pre-Game show with Hank Fuerst begins at 5:45 PM.