Mustelier, Mesa Homers Lead Thunder Past Portland

(PR) (Portland, ME) – Ronnier Mustelier and Melky Mesa clobbered home runs in the ninth inning to break open a tie game and give the Trenton Thunder a 6-3 win over the Portland Sea Dogs in the opener of a four-game series Monday night from chilly Hadlock Field. Mustelier’s two-run blast snapped a 3-3 tie, and Mesa’s solo shot provided an insurance run two batters later.

Dan Brewer led off the ninth against Eammon Portice (0-1) with a ground ball single to left field. Mustelier then squared to sacrifice on the first pitch of the next at-bat but pulled the bat back and took ball one. Then with Brewer in motion on an apparent hit-and-run on the 1-0 pitch, Mustelier hammered the ball over the replica “Green Monster” left field wall for his second home run of the season.

Mesa also drilled his home run over the replica “Monster,” his team-high-tying fifth of the season. Trenton hit 24 home runs in 23 games during the month of April.

Kelvin Perez worked around a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth to end the 3 hour, 16 minute affair and earn his first-career Eastern League save. Francisco Rondon (1-0) retired the only batter he faced on a deep fly ball in the eighth to earn his first Eastern League win.

The Thunder previously led by one run three times in the game, only to see Portland come back each time and tie the game. Cody Johnson’s RBI single against Sea Dogs’ starter Billy Buckner started the scoring in the first, but Oscar Tejeda’s double tied the score at 1 in the fourth.

Luke Murton’s infield RBI hit in the fifth gave Trenton the lead at 2-1, but Kolbrin Vitek tied the game right back with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Mustelier hit an RBI fielder’s choice in the sixth to make it 3-2, but Vitek hit a solo home run against Ryan Pope in the eighth to again tie the score.

Murton went 3-for-4 with a walk to lead the Thunder offense. Mustelier went 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Abraham Almonte, Johnson and Mesa each had a pair of Trenton’s 14 hits.

Game two of the series will be Tuesday night with first pitch slated for 6:00 pm from Hadlock Field. Trenton right-hander Craig Heyer (1-2) is expected to start for the Thunder against Sea Dogs’ righty Chris Balcom-Miller (1-2) in a re-match of a game at Waterfront Park on April 10. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and streaming online begins at 5:45 pm

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