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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Postgame Notes - June 16

The Thunder lost to Harrisburg, 3-2, in the process falling to second in the Eastern League East, behind the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. As it stands, it looks like those two clubs will battle for the division's top spot all summer long.

This wasn't Pat Venditte's night. He allowed the go-ahead two-run double to Josh Johnson in the seventh, but was OK in the eighth and ninth innings. Recent success notwithstanding, Venditte was visibly upset with the way he performed.

Before Johnson hit the double, Venditte was called for a balk for not stepping toward first on a pickoff throw. Steve Lombardozzi followed with an infield single, and Johnson drove both men in a few pitches later.

Venditte said he wasn't particularly unnerved by the call against him, nor did he let it hinder his concentration.

"There was still already one out in the inning, and I knew if I could make a good pitch, make a couple of good pitches, I could get a couple of quick outs and maybe get out of the inning. I got ahead there on (Johnson), 0-1 fastball away, threw the same pitch again and he put a good swing on it to left field. It's just one of those nights where things didn't go my way and I didn't execute."

Even with a few hiccups of late, Venditte has been gangbusters since May 5, when his ERA was a ghastly 6.61. Since then, he's lowered that mark to 3.20, and he credits the success to a cut fastball from the right side.

"That was an awful start to the season. Luckily, Phelpsie stuck with me and was working with me every day in the bullpen. He showed a cutter to me, which I've been throwing a ton from the right side. That's helped me immensely to go out there and get right-on-right hitters out. It's been a big confidence-booster for me. I'm just very fortunate he stuck with me and he keeps going to me."

- Craig Heyer, despite a career high-tying four walks, permitted just one run. It came on Tyler Moore's RBI triple in the first, an inning in which he walked nobody. He wasn't terribly pleased with his stuff or his outing afterward, but was thankful that he escaped relatively unscathed after six innings.

"I just didn't command the ball too well today. My change-up wasn't there. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. ... Allowing five or six hits, plus four walks is over 10 baserunners a game, so to be able to get out of it, that's a positive."

- DeAngelo Mack had two hits tonight, and he's hitting .323/.475/.548 over his last 10 games. He's got a double, two longballs, six RBIs and six walks in that time.

- Cody Johnson also had two hits, one a double just inside the left-field line, and the other a bullet off of starting pitcher Tanner Roark that drove in the Thunder's second run.

- Brad Suttle's RBI double brought home Ray Kruml with Trenton's first run.

- Jose Pirela flashed excellent range in the seventh inning after Venditte's balk. He corralled Lombardozzi's grounder to short and had the presence of mind to fire behind Jonathan Tucker at second. The throw was in plenty of time to nab Tucker, but second baseman Corban Joseph flubbed the tag.

- Not only is Kei Igawa back with the Thunder, he's back in the starting rotation too. He'll take the ball on Saturday in Binghamton.

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