Trenton Thunder take Game 2 of Eastern League Championship Series over Harrisburg Senators
Trenton opened the scoring in the first, as Jose Pirela hit a sac fly after back-to-back singles by Mason Williams and Ramon Flores to take a 1-0 lead, and from there, the Thunder persevered and fought back every time Harrisburg took the advantage.
The Senators tied it in the fourth on an RBI single by Jared Head and took a 2-1 lead on a Steven Souza fielder's choice, but the Thunder got two in the fifth to re-take the lead; with second and third and one out, Kyle Roller reached on a fielder's choice to plate the tying run, and Ben Gamel then beat out a potential double play ball to score the lead run.
Not to be outdone, Harrisburg scored twice in the sixth, tying it at 3-3 on an RBI double by Head that chased starter Bryan Mitchell (5.1 IP, 4 R/3 ER, 3 H, 7 BB, 2 K) and taking the lead when Jeff Howell hit a sac fly off reliever (and eventual winner) Francisco Rondon.
When Trenton failed to score in the sixth, it marked the first time this postseason they have trailed at the end of an inning - but that wouldn't last long, as the Thunder got two in the seventh to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
After Gary Sanchez struck out to open the frame, Tyler Austin and Kyle Roller drew back-to-back walks, and Gamel followed with single that loaded the bases; Reegie Corona then singled to plate Austin with the tying run, and Ali Castillo followed with an RBI groundout that scored pinch-runner Casey Stevenson with what would be the winning run.
That made a winner of Rondon (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 K), and the combo of Danny Burawa (1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) and Tommy Kahnle (0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 K) shut down the Senators in the final two frames, with Kahnle striking out Souza with two on and two out to nail down his second save of the postseason.
Offensively, it was perhaps the best game of the postseason for Trenton, who rapped out 12 hits; Gamel (3-for-4, RBI) led the way, but Williams, Castillo, and Corona all had two hits apiece and Austin drew two walks, the second paving the way for the final rally.
The ELCS now shifts to Harrisburg for the remainder of the best-of-five series, with Game 3 set for Thursday night, and the Thunder need just one more win to capture their first Eastern League title since 2008.
In Game 3, Tony Franklin will send righty Shane Greene, who pitched 5.2 shutout innings and got the series-clinching win in Game 3 of the Eastern Division Championship Series, to the mound to try to close out a perfect postseason, while righty Nate Karns (10-6, 3.26 ERA in 26 regular-season starts) will take the bump for Harrisburg looking to keep the Senators alive for another day.
One other quick Baby Bombers note: CBS Sports Insider Jon Heyman reported Wednesday night that the Yankees have sent 22-year-old LHP Yoely Bello to Colorado to officially complete the May 1 deal that brought infielder Chris Nelson to the Bronx. Bello was 0-2 with a 6.29 ERA in 16 appearances for the GCL Yankees 2 squad this summer, while Nelson went 8-for-36 with two RBI in 10 games with the Yankees in May before being designated for assignment and claimed by the Angels.