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

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Thunder are going to the Eastern League Champion

Final score: Trenton 5, Reading 4

Synopsis: Behind quality pitching from Nik Turley, Graham Stoneburner, Branden Pinder, David Aardsma, Mark Montgomery and Ryan Pope, and homers from J.R. Murphy and Addison Maruszak, the Thunder bested Reading and will play Akron starting Tuesday in the Eastern League Championship Series. 

H.R. Rufnstuffed: First and foremost, congratulations go to Darin Ruf for getting called to the big leagues after this game. Enjoy him, Phillies fans. As far as the Eastern League playoffs were concerned, however, Ruf was more or less a non-factor. His home run on Sunday accounted for his only RBI of the series. 

“(Ruf) is obviously their best hitter," Murphy said.  "We had our plan.  We were going to pick our times when we should even give him something close to hit, and our whole pitching staff did a really good job.  We were going to stay away, away, away and pick our times to pitch to him.  Obviously, we had to pitch to him there in the ninth, and Popey made a good pitch.”

“(The plan for Ruf was) Just don’t let him beat us," Pope said.  "Anybody else can beat us but him. He’s a great player, and I think that’s what anybody would do.  Just make your pitches.  Don’t pitch around him, but make quality pitches against a quality hitter.”

“You’ve just got to lock it in (against Ruf).  Anything is possible in the playoffs.  We had great pitching.  They’re a great hitting team, but sometimes people just have better days than others and we were on the other side of that tonight.”

Trenton's hurlers found a way to attack him, and were especially effective in doing so on Sunday, when he banged into a pair of killer double plays and popped out to quash a third potential rally. Here's how J.R. Murphy and Ryan Pope explained attacking Ruf. 

Who needs experience?: This was Nik Turley's first playoff start and J.R. Murphy's first playoff series. I'd say both did just fine. Turley allowed three runs over five-plus innings, and Murphy hit a huge two-run homer that helped give Trenton a big boost of momentum. 

“It’s awesome," Turley said. "I was so pumped out there when we got that double play.  It’s just a really good feeling, we’ve got a really good group of guys here and we all want to win.  I’m just happy to be up here.”

Aardsmania: David Aardsma made his second appearance for the Thunder, and allowed another run. He was better than his first time out, when he said he wasn't finishing his pitches. To get some more work in, he'll travel with the team to Akron (lucky him) and pitch back-to-back days, likely beginning in Game 2 and then once again in Game 3 at Waterfront Park. 

What a pen, What a pen, What a mighty good pen: The Thunder's relievers allowed two runs in 17 innings. That's pretty darn nasty. 

Brother, brother, brother: This series will pit Thunder pitcher Graham Stoneburner against his brother, Akron second baseman Davis Stoneburner. So they've got that going for them. 

Picks to click: Here are my game story and notes from Sunday. 

Flick to click: Here is my highlight reel from Game 4. 


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