(PR) (Trenton, NJ) – After leading for the majority of the night in a crucial Eastern Division tilt, the Trenton Thunder (64-67) allowed three runs in the top of the ninth inning to the New Britain Rock Cats (67-65) in a 4-2 loss in front of 6,041 fans on Friday night at Waterfront Park. In the second game of a four-game set, Joe Benson’s two-run triple off of Thunder closer Ryan Pope in the ninth inning provided just enough for the Rock Cats in their clutch win over the Thunder. The loss, Trenton’s fifteenth in 23 games in August, drops the Thunder to three games below .500 for the first time since May 3.
For the second time in as many nights, the Thunder scored the game’s first run to take an early lead. Austin Romine and Rob Lyerly singled and Melky Mesa was hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs. Jose Pirela then singled on the infield behind the second base bag to score Romine from third to give Trenton the 1-0 lead.
In a 1-1 game in the bottom of the seventh, the Thunder used some good base running to break the tie and take a 2-1 lead. Jose Pirela singled to lead off the frame and later scored on an Austin Krum sacrifice fly to deep left field. Pirela was at the third base bag because of a key steal off of Rock Cats’ reliever Deolis Guerra that set up the go-ahead run.
The inability to add to their late, one-run lead came back to haunt the Thunder, though, as the Rock Cats struck for three runs in the top of the ninth inning. Ryan Pope, who was six of seven in save opportunities entering Friday’s ninth, allowed a two-run triple to Joe Benson and an RBI-single to Chris Parmelee to give the Rock Cats the lead and the eventual win.
The games scheduled for Saturday (8/27) at 7:05 PM and Sunday (8/28) at 5:05 PM will be played as a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 12:05 PM. Tickets for Saturday night’s 7:05 PM game will be honored for Saturday’s doubleheader. Tickets for Sunday evening may be used for Saturday’s doubleheader but fans must stop at the ticket office at Waterfront Park to have their ticket validated prior to entering the stadium. Fans with tickets to either game may exchange them for tickets of equal or lesser value to another 2011 Thunder regular season home game or any game in April 2012 including Opening Night, subject to availability. Ticket stubs may be presented in person at the Thunder Ticket Office at Waterfront Park. Fans wishing to exchange for a 2012 ticket must do so starting in February 2012.
The NJEA Back to School Night Kids Notebook giveaway (first 1,500 fans, ages 5-15) slated for Saturday night will be distributed starting at 11:05 AM. The Good Deed Game charitable drives will take place throughout the game. Fans should bring their donations to the front office lobby and ask for Thunder Director of Community Relations, Patience Purdy.
Both games can be heard on the flagship station of Trenton Thunder baseball, 91.3 WTSR-FM, as well as online at trentonthunder.com. Tune in to the SBLI Pre-Game Show with Jay Burnham and Hank Fuerst at 11:45 AM. The Thunder will send RHP Jeff Marquez (1-0, 3.00) to the mound in game one and RHP Cory Arbiso (5-5, 4.98) in game two. The Rock Cats will send RHP Matt Schuld (1-2, 7.47) to the mound in game one. New Britain has not named a starter for game two.