(Trenton, NJ) – Independence Day is always one of the high points of the summer at Trenton Thunder Ballpark and Monday’s series opener against the first place Crosscutters was no different as the Thunder looked to end a three-game losing streak. Playing before a loud house of 6,076 fans, the Thunder erased two deficits and scored three times in the eighth for a 7-4 win. Back over .500 at 14-13, the Thunder are just two games out of first place with just about two weeks left in the first half of the season.
The Crosscutters came out fast and scored right away after loading the bases with two walks and a hit off Thunder starter Joe Joe Rodriguez. A groundout from Daniel Harris pushed the first run across right before Rodriguez rebounded with back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side. In the home half, catcher Andrew Cossetti singled back up the middle and got to third on *John Cristino’s *opposite field double down the right field line. Ryan McCarthy soon tied it with a sacrifice fly for his team-leading 16th run batted in off Riley Gowens, who fanned Colby Backus for the final out.
In one of his best games, Thunder second baseman Jorge Bojorquez led off the third with his first triple of the season. A few pitches later, shortstop EJ Exposito gave Trenton a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly to center for the final run off Gowens. The righthander delivered his best start by setting new highs with seven strikeouts over four innings.
Williamsport took the lead back off Rodriguez during his final inning in the fourth. Once again, they loaded the bases with no outs and capitalized on a Rodriguez throwing error to the plate after fielding a comebacker in front of the mound. With two outs, Isaac Nunez delivered the parting shot with a two-RBI single to break the tie and put the ‘Cutters back in front. But it wouldn’t hold after Cossetti re-tied the score with a two-out, two-RBI double off Brandon Laux in the fifth.
The Thunder bullpen provided five-plus innings of one-hit relief as Javier Ramos relieved Rodriguez and retired all four batters he faced in his debut. After that, the trio of Ryan Figueroa, Tyler Jeans, and Justin Stewart worked one inning apiece while combining to strike out six.
Jovani Wiggs’ speed later paid off when he led off the bottom of the eighth and reached on a dropped third strike. Shortly thereafter, he was nearly nabbed trying to steal second base, but lucked out when the ball popped out of the mitt of shortstop Travis Holt. Wiggs ran to third off the deflection, watched as _Jeff Manto *_worked a walk, and scored the go-ahead run on *Nate Ochoa’s** high drive to left center that gave him his third double and seventh run batted in. The Thunder tacked on two more with a wild pitch and a bases loaded walk to Cossetti, and Alec Whaley secured his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Thunder and Crosscutters get together for a 7-inning affair to continue their three-game series on Tuesday, July 5th at 7:00 PM. Celebrate the Thunder's alternate identity, El Trueno de Trenton, with an awesome Cowbell Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans age 13 & up! To purchase tickets, call (609)-394-3300, Opt 4 or visit trentonthunder.com.
New Jersey's Baseball Team | Founding Member of the MLB Draft League
The Trenton Thunder have drawn over 10 million fans over 28 years and have won the three major awards that Minor League Baseball teams can win; the Johnson Trophy for the “Nation's Best Franchise”, the Larry MacPhail Trophy for Outstanding Club Promotion, and the Bob Frietas Award for Long-Term Success, given by Baseball America. The team has given back over $7.5 million worth of goods, services, and monetary donations through Trenton Thunder Charities, under the Grand Slam We Care Foundation umbrella. The Thunder can be found online at trentonthunder.com, facebook.com/trentonthunder, twitter.com/trentonthunder, and on youtube.com/AATrentonThunder.