— Full disclosure: I stayed for 11 innings. The game went 12. If you want the team press release like I usually put up here after games, it’s at the end of this post.
But I did get what I came to see. I wanted to check out the pitching matchup between Trenton’s Vidal Nuno and Richmond’s Chris Heston, the latter of whom is most likely the first half Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. It wasn’t quite what it was anticipated to be, but given that they’d allowed 10 earned runs all season entering this start between the two of them, it was hard to expect that it ever could.
All six Flying Squirrels pitchers recorded at least one strikeout, but Heston notched ten in just 5 1/3 innings of work. Nuno, meanwhile, actually…gasp, allowed three earned runs in six frames. It certainly wasn’t a classic prospect vs. prospect duel, but merely two guys who know what they’re doing and have done so to little fanfare. All too often (see: my team record prediction from the start of the year) people get caught up the name game…just because you don’t see these guys in your prospect guides doesn’t mean they aren’t worth watching.
— Cody Johnson appeared to pull his hamstring in the fourth inning while legging out a single. If he has to miss an extended period of time, and it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t, that may finally be the one injury that Trenton can’t overcome. Then again, Johnson has struggled as of late…but to not have that kind of power potential in the lineup every day will hurt.
— ‘Twas Richmond backup backstop Johnny Monell who finally, for all intents and purposes, ended things about four hours or so into the game, when his two-out double off of reliever Michael Dubee plated two and gave Richmond their final 7-5 margin of victory.
— Kelvin Perez. Three innings tonight. 1 hit, 2 K’s, 0 runs. ERA? 0.82. Yep. Raise your hand if you saw that coming at the start of the year…not seeing a lot of hands.
— The talk before the game was…well, not a hell of a lot. There really wasn’t much to discuss, to be honest.
“The injured are still injured and the healthy are still healthy,” quipped Thunder manager Tony Franklin. “It’s status quo.”
The chatter then shifted to Franklin once again being named to coach in the Futures Game for the fifth time. He was far more intrigued by the fact that Bernie Williams will be managing one of the teams than he was about his own participation, but was thrilled not only be able to visit his mother and brother but to get a chance to be a part of the prospect showcase one more time.
“It’s quite an honor to go, as always,” Franklin said. “You get a chance to see the best talent in minor league baseball, and I always look forward to that. A lot of those guys are now in the major leagues…’I remember that guy, he was pretty good.’ They’re all good. I look forward to doing it.”
(PR) (Trenton, NJ) – Johnny Monell’s two-out, two-run double in the 12th inning pushed the Richmond Flying Squirrels past the Trenton Thunder, 7-5, Wednesday in front of 4,151 fans at Waterfront Park. Monell, who did not enter the game until the ninth inning, drilled the game-winner against reliever Michael Dubee (2-2) to even the three-game series at one win apiece.
Cody Johnson, the league-leader in home runs, left the game due to injury in the fourth inning. Richmond pitching fanned 18 Thunder batters, including ten by starter Chris Heston in 5.1 innings of work. Brett Bochy (5-2) fanned three in two scoreless innings to earn the win and Daryl Maday pitched the bottom of the 12th for his seventh save.
Trenton trailed 5-2 after five innings when the Flying Squirrels collected five runs against Thunder starter Vidal Nuño. Having allowed only one earned run in 27.1 innings with Trenton this season entering the game, the lefty allowed three earned against Richmond in six innings pitched.
The Thunder scored two runs in the sixth charged to Heston including an RBI single from Luke Murton, then tied the game on Melky Mesa’s RBI single against Austin Fleet in the seventh. Trenton would gain only two more baserunners following Mesa’s hit.
The Thunder and Squirrels play the rubber-match of the three-game series Thursday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. Trenton right-hander Adam Miller (0-1, 3.69) is slated to start against lefty Mike Kickham (4-5, 2.92). Limited tickets are available by contacting the Thunder box office at 609-394-3300 or online at http://www.trentonthunder.com.