(PR) (New Britain, CT) – Trenton Thunder (67-73) pitchers allowed a season-high 19 hits and the New Britain Rock Cats (72-69) picked-up an important 12-9 victory on Sunday to stay alive in the Eastern Division play race. Damon Sublett drove in three runs and Corban Joseph smacked his fifth homerun of the season, but the Thunder could not overcome a six-run sixth inning by the Rock Cats. New Britain now stands just one-half game behind the Reading Phillies, who are in action Sunday night in Binghamton, in the Eastern Division.
For the third time in four games in the series, the Thunder scored three times in the top of the first inning. On Sunday afternoon, the Thunder accomplished the feat all with two outs. With runners at first and second, Melky Mesa knocked a bloop single into centerfield to put the Thunder on the scoreboard first. Damon Sublett then roped a double down the line in right field to clear the bases, and the Thunder led 3-0 after the end of the top of the first.
The Rock Cats rallied to score five unanswered runs to take a 5-3 lead, but the Thunder answered back with two runs in the top of the sixth inning using a few familiar faces. Melky Mesa drove in his second run of the afternoon with an RBI-infield single, and Damon Sublett laced an RBI-single to right field to tie the score 5-5.
However, the Rock Cats broke the 5-5 tie with six runs off of Thunder reliever Pat Venditte in the bottom of the sixth inning. New Britain knocked seven hits in the frame that saw 11 hitters come to the plate against the switch-pitcher. The six-run frame proved to be too much for the Thunder to overcome in the end as the Rock Cats held on for a much-needed win to stay alive in the Eastern League Eastern Division’s playoff race.
The Thunder will bring their memorable 2011 season to an end on Labor Day with a 1:35 PM contest with the Rock Cats from New Britain Stadium. Trenton will send LHP Steve Garrison (4-8, 6.55) to the mound, while the Rock Cats will give the pearl to LHP Spencer Steedley (4-5, 4.78). All of the action can be heard on 91.3 WTSR-FM, WBCB 1490-AM and online at trentonthunder.com. The SBLI Pre-Game Show with Hank Fuerst begins at 1:20 PM on Sunday afternoon.