TRENTON, NJ – In a game just over four hours long, the West Virginia Black Bears dropped the second game of the series to the Trenton Thunder by a score of 25-8 at Thunder Ballpark. West Virginia’s performance on the mound gave way to the largest loss in recent memory,
TRENTON, NJ – In a game just over four hours long, the West Virginia Black Bears dropped the second game of the series to the Trenton Thunder by a score of 25-8 at Thunder Ballpark. West Virginia’s performance on the mound gave way to the largest loss in recent memory, as the six pitchers allowed a combined 20 hits and 11 walks throughout the nine innings of play.
Building off their offensive momentum from the night before, West Virginia took possession of the lead early in the first frame. A double from RF Ruben Fontes scored LF Turner Hill from first base. Two outs later, 2B Jovante Dorris drove in Fontes on a line-drive double to right field to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead.
West Virginia added to their first inning lead with another run in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly from Fontes that plated CF Maddux Houghton. Heading into the home half, the Black Bears held a three-run lead over the Thunder.
The bottom of the second began the unraveling of the West Virginia defense as Trenton posted five runs in the second off starting pitcher Brian Williams. After allowing one run on a single from LF Christian Merriwether, Williams loaded the bases before 3B Damian Yenzi cleared them with a grand slam. Williams managed to end the inning with a strikeout but not before Trenton took a 5-3 lead.
The Bears fought back in the top of the third with three runs to reclaim it. Catcher Kevin Saenz doubled on a line drive to left field that scored Dorris, while a single from Houghton brought Saenz home two pitches later. After a pitching change, Houghton stole second to make room for SS Anthony Stehlin who reached base-on-balls. A wild pitch from Thunder reliever Hunter Waldis advanced both runners into scoring position before a single from Hill sent Houghton home. Hill, who was caught stealing second, allowed Stehlin the opportunity to score. By the end of the inning, West Virginia held a two-run advantage.
Trenton, however, swiftly took the lead in the bottom of the third and never looked back. With two outs on the board, the Thunder posted six runs due to a wild pitch from Williams, a throwing error by Saenz, a three-run home run from SS Dilan Espinal and a two-RBI double from Thunder DH Ben Newbert. By the end of the third inning, West Virginia trailed Trenton 11-7.
After two quiet innings from both sides, the Bears posted one run in the top of the sixth on an RBI sac-fly from 3B Tremaine Spears that scored DH Adan Fernandez, but that would be the last time West Virginia made it home.
Over the next three innings, Trenton unleashed a brutal offensive performance with the help of two Black Bears errors and a wild pitch to record a whopping 14 runs scored with nine in the seventh inning. In the bottom of the sixth, a single from RF Paul Coumoulos drove in two runs to give the Thunder a 13-8 lead.
Then in the seventh, reliever Shandon Herrera allowed nine runs (six earned) while making it just a third of an inning. Thunder CF Ryan McCarthy began the scoring with a two-RBI single aided by a throwing error by Fontes from right field. Second baseman Jeff Manto scored McCarthy, while Manto crossed home on a double two plays later. Merriwether reached first on a second Black Bears error by Stehlin that also allowed Thunder catcher Logan Demkovich to score.
After a wild pitch by Herrera brought home Kolby Blanchard, RHP Tyler Johnson entered in relief for the Bears. With the bases loaded, Johnson attempted to work himself out of the jam, but instead allowed two more runs on walks. A double from Manto brought in another two runs before Johnson finally ended the inning with a strikeout. By the end of the seventh, West Virginia trailed 23-8.
Trenton drove in two more runs in the bottom of the eighth for good measure – one on a line drive to right field by Espinal and the other on a sac-fly by 1B Josh Surowiec that scored Merriwether for his fourth run of the evening. Though the Bears managed to reach base in both of the last two innings, they were unable to capitalize and finished down 25-8.
Though the Black Bears finished with only eight runs, they recorded 14 hits on the night. Turner Hill continued his hitting streak as he notched three hits on the evening (going 8-for-11 on the series), while Houghton posted two hits, one run and an RBI in four at-bats. But the wildly inconsistent pitching was its undoing, as West Virginia allowed 25 runs on 20 hits with 11 walks and two home runs.
The Black Bears return to Thunder Ballpark to finish the series in an early game on Wednesday morning before returning to Monongalia County Ballpark on Thursday evening for their first home series of the second half. First pitch for Wednesday’s series finale against the Thunder begins at 11:00 a.m.