Reading Rebounds To Edge Thunder in 11 Innings

The Reading Phillies defeated the Trenton Thunder 4-3 in 11 innings to take three of four from Trenton and possibly turn the corner on their season. Yoel Hernandez got the win in relief for the R-Phils and improved to 1-0 after Travis Minix blew his first save of the year. Justin Pope fell to 0-2 on the season in his third inning of relief. Pope, the Thunder closer, has pitched three innings on rare occasions before and had typically faltered in the third inning as he did Thursday night.

The game was the longest of the season for both teams, at three hours and forty-seven minutes. The bullpen that pitching coach Tom Filer said would be fine after Wednesday's collapse, showed no hangover as Erick Burke, Yoel Hernandez, and Ryan Cameron pitched the final 3 1/3 shutout innings for Reading and allowed them to win the game.

"They did a great job" said Filer. "We had to piece it together a little bit but it all worked out. I was really pleased with Hernandez. He gave up the lead-off triple in the tenth and pitched out of it. That was fantastic."

The R-Phils jumped out with two runs in the third inning to take the early lead. Chris Roberson hit a two-out double to right and Ryan Fleming followed with a his third home run of the year, a two run blast on a 3-2 pitch that landed in the vicinity of the Delaware River in right. Reading added one more in the sixth with a one-out homer to left center by Randy Ruiz to make it 3-0 Reading.

But the Thunder would not go quietly into the night.

The Thunder came back in the seventh and eighth. Shelley Duncan opened the seventh with a double off the center field wall and after a walk by Dee Brown and a strikeout by Eric Duncan, Bronson Sardinha doubled to right-center to score Duncan and Brown and make it 3-2. The Trenton comeback was complete in the eighth when they added one more after Kevin Thompson doubled down the left field line and scored on Melky Cabrera's single to right center to tie it at three.

The Thunder threatened to win it in the tenth with a lead-off triple by Kevin Thompson, but Hernandez worked out of it after a visit to the mound by Filer. Reading took a lead in the eleventh after Brian Hitchcox got an infield single and Danny Gonzalez laid down a sacrifice bunt to put Hitchcox in scoring position. It wouldn't matter though as Carlos Leon tripled to right to score Hitchcox and give Reading the eventual winning run. Reading manager Steve Swisher was proud of his team, especially after Wednesday night's drubbing. "This was a great team effort. We never quit. We responded the way I thought we would." said Swisher.

The Thunder tried to tie it in the eleventh but left the tying run ninety feet away. Bronson Sardinha, who was in an 8-for-67 (.119) slide led off the eleventh with his second double of the game to put the tying run in scoring position for Trenton. J.T. Stotts followed with a sacrifice bunt to put Sardinha at third with one out, but he was one of ten runners the Thunder stranded on the night. Omir Santos struck out and Ryan Cameron was brought in to face the red-hot Kevin Thompson, who he retired on a groundball to shortstop to end the game.


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