Thunder top Harrisburg with big third inning
TRENTON — Sometimes, one good inning is all you need.
The Thunder sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring all seven of their runs en route to a 7-2 victory over the Harrisburg Senators. Trenton got six hits in the game — all in the third inning — and only had two baserunners from the fourth inning on.
Senators starter Andrew Kown held Trenton hitless through his first two innings, but allowed eight straight Thunder batters to reach after striking Edwar Gonzalez out to lead off the third frame. Two pitches after a one-out walk to Justin Snyder, Austin Krum gave Trenton a 2-0 lead on a long home run to right field.
For Krum, that marked his fifth home run of the season, and the 64th of the year for the Thunder as a team. Given the fact that last year’s team went deep just 76 times the entire season, and it seems safe to say that year’s club is much more potent offensively.
Luis Nunez continued the onslaught, lacing a triple to right field. Austin Romine then walked, his eighth walk in his last six games, and Brandon Laird followed with his Eastern League-leading 80th RBI of the year on an infield single that plated Nunez to give Trenton a 3-0 advantage.
Daniel Brewer plated Romine on an RBI single, which was followed by a two-run double off the bat of Matthew Cusick that scored Laird and Brewer. Kown’s night came to a merciful end after Marcos Vechionacci’s double scored Cusick and upped Trenton’s lead to seven.
Oddly, as a team, the Thunder hit for the cycle in the third, but no individual player had more than one hit for the entire game.
Lance Pendleton, who will be representing the Thunder at the All-Star Game, allowed just one run in the fifth on a Danny Espinosa double through six innings of work. He threw 105 pitches; 69 of them for strikes, and lowered his ERA from 3.70 to 3.54 with another solid outing.
“I’d like to do better, but you definitely take an outing like that,” Pendleton said.
“I felt real good, and I had a real good rhythm, especially the first three innings. I kind of got out of rhythm after that just a touch, but I managed to get it done.”
Josh Schmidt finished out the game for Trenton and spun the final three frames. Senators right fielder Jesus Valdez knocked in a run on a one-out, bases loaded single in the eighth inning, but Schmidt escaped otherwise unscathed. He pitched out of the eighth inning jam and struck out six Senator batters en route to a nine-out save.
“I knew they were being aggressive, they were swinging at a lot of first pitches,” said Schmidt of the eighth inning jam.
“I tried to just change it up and mix speeds a little bit better. I was getting a little frustrated, but I knew I was getting the swings that I wanted, it just wasn’t working for me for a little while.”
NOTES: D.J. Mitchell (6-3, 4.70) was officially named as David Phelps replacement at the Eastern League All-Star Game. ... Infielder Jeff Natale was added to the Trenton roster from Scranton to replace Phelps, but he is not expected to report, as the move is only temporary.