(PR) (Trenton, NJ) – A four-run first inning put Harrisburg ahead early and Mike Ballard and two relievers combined on a five-hitter as the Senators defeated the Trenton Thunder, 6-2, Thursday night at Waterfront Park in front of 6,080 fans. Ballard (1-1) struck out eight in 6.2 innings to lead Harrisburg.
The Senators picked up 14 hits on the night, five of which came against Trenton starter Josh Romanski (1-1) in the opening inning. Jesus Valdez and Destin Hood delivered RBI hits to put Harrisburg ahead 2-0, then Chris Rahl clubbed his third home run of the season, a shot to dead center that made it 4-0.
Ballard changed speeds effectively to keep the Thunder batters off balanced and off the scoreboard until the seventh. With two outs in that inning Ballard was pulled in favor of former Trenton hurler Christian Garcia, and a throwing error by shortstop Chris McConnell on Addison Maruszak’s ground ball gave the Thunder its first run.
The Senators added two insurance runs against reliever Michael Dubee in the ninth on consecutive RBI base hits by Valdez and Tim Pahuta. Luke Murton led off the bottom of the ninth with his first Eastern league home run, a line drive to left against Patrick Lehman, but Lehman finished the victory without allowing another hit.
Romanski settled down following the first inning and pitched six consecutive scoreless frames. In seven innings of work the lefty allowed four runs on nine hits while striking out six. At one point he retired 12 straight Harrisburg hitters.
The series continues Friday night with a 7:05 pm scheduled first pitch at Waterfront Park. Thunder righty Craig Heyer (1-1) is expected to pitch against Senators righty Rob Gilliam (1-2). Limited tickets are available by contacting the box office at 609-394-3300 or online at http://www.trentonthunder.com.