Trenton jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning off Erie starter Kenny Baugh. Kevin Reese started the Thunder season with a double to the right field corner and then scored when the next batter, Robinson Cano, singled to center. After the Thunder scored their first-inning run, they wouldn’t score again until their seven-run eighth inning.
Matt Smith, Trenton’s Opening Day starter, was up to the task, though, as he allowed only one run over his five innings of work. According to Smith, who is recovering from surgery, he said, “I knew going in that I would pitch six innings at most because of my pitch count and the cold weather. It was just a matter of how I felt and keeping my pitch count down.”
Erie’s first run came in the fourth when Curtis Granderson led off the inning with a double to left and scored on a triple two batters later by Kurt Airoso. Airoso was responsible for producing both of Erie’s runs as he also singled home Granderson in the sixth after
a leadoff walk.
With the Thunder down 2-1 entering the eighth, the game was in the hands of the Erie bullpen. Three Erie pitchers combined to give up seven runs to the Thunder, breaking open a close game. Dioner Navarro led off the Thunder eighth with a single to left, where he was replaced with pinch runner Teuris Olivares. Jake Weber followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Olivares to second. Aaron Rifkin walked to put
runners on first and second with one out.
Rick Palma (0-1) was replaced with Jason Carnuth, who retired only one batter he faced. Carnuth allowed a walk to Mitch Jones, the first batter he faced. The next two batters, Jason Grove and J.T. Slotts both hit two run doubles to the corners. Ferdin Tejeda followed with a ground out to second that moved Slotts to third. Kevin Reese came to the plate with a runner on third and two outs, but it would not be his double that allowed Trenton to score their fifth run of the inning. It was a wild pitch. The Thunder batted around plus two in the eighth when it was all said and done. The inning mercifully ended when Jackson Melian was thrown out by Airoso trying to stretch a single into a double. Buddy Carlyle (1-0) who came in behind John Blankenship in the eighth inning stayed in to pitch a perfect ninth and
notch the win for the Thunder.
The pitching match-ups for the rest of the Erie series have Javier Ortiz going against Wilfredo Ledezma
on Friday, Sean Henn and Preston Larrison on Saturday afternoon, and Chien-Ming Wang going at it against Rob Henkel on Easter Sunday….This is Erie’s only trip into Trenton this year…You can listen to the Thunder on the radio in the Trenton area with WBUD 1260 AM and WHTG 1410 AM or from anywhere online at www.nj.com/thunder.
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