PP Game Notes: Thunder 6, Fisher Cats 5

After a 34 minute rain delay, the Trenton Thunder defeated the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 6-5 in front of 6,707 fans on an overcast night at Waterfront Park.

Jeremy Ward improved to 3-0 on the year, pitching an inning and a third of perfect relief, and David Shepard pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save of the year. John Ogiltree fell to 0-2 as the Fisher Cats lost to the Thunder for the first time this year at Waterfront Park. Ogiltree came on in relief Dan Jackson and gave up the Thunder run in the eighth that put the Thunder up for good.

New Hampshire jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first on three consecutive singles to lead off the game by Anton French, Dominic Rich, and Aaron Hill. Hill's single to left scored French who hit an infield single to lead off the game against Reyes.

Kenny Lofton went 1-for-3 on the night, including a double to the left field corner in the third that allowed the Thunder to tie the game at 1. After getting the lead off man, Jake Weber, to strike out swinging, the Thunder strung together three consecutive hits to tie the game. Back to back singles by JT Stotts and Andy Cannizaro preceded Lofton's double that scored Stotts. Strikeouts by Kevin Reese and Aaron Rifkin sandwiched around a walk to Dioner Navarro ended the inning for Trenton, as they left the bases loaded. Lofton would leave after grounding into a fielders choice in the bottom of the fifth.

After a 36 minute rain delay before the top of the fifth inning, the Thunder took a 4-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. Houston did not look to be sharp when he returned after the rain delay. Cannizaro led off the inning with a single to center. Lofton grounded into a fielders choice back to the pitcher, retiring Cannizaro on the play. Kevin Reese followed with a two run homer to right to give the Thunder a 3-1 lead. After Navarro struck out, Rifkin followed with a long solo homerun to right center, giving the Thunder a 4-1 lead.

New Hampshire took a 5-4 lead in the seventh, scoring four in the inning. Maikel Jova led off the inning with a single to right . After Victor Valencia grounded out, Danny Solano walked to put runners on first and second. After Matt Logan struck out, three consecutive hits spelled the end of Carlos Reyes' evening. Justin Singleton's single to left scored Jova and cut the Thunder lead to 5-2. Anton French followed with a double to left center that scored Solano and Singleton to tie the game at 4. Dominic Rich followed with a single to right center that scored French and put the Fisher Cats up 5-4. Jeremy Ward came on and retired Aaron Hill to end the inning with Trenton only down by one run.

The Thunder took the lead for good in the eighth when Cannizaro, 3-for-4 on the night, singled to left allowing Robinson Cano to score the winning run. Cano led off the inning with a single to center and was sacrificed to second by Jason Grove. After JT Stotts bounced out to the pitcher, Cannizaro followed with the single that put Trenton up for good.

Chien-ming Wang developed a blister on his right ring finger during his outing yesterday. The blister reportedly occurred during the fifth inning when Wang started to lose his command. Wang said that he will not miss a start because of it.….Kenny Lofton is back with the Thunder for another rehab stint, this time because of a right hamstring injury. Estimates of how long he'll be here range from two games to possibly the entire weekend… According to pitching coach Gary LaVelle, Matt Smith is throwing off a flat surface and should be ready to pitch by the end of the month…Kevin Reese is tied for second in the Eastern League with 27 doubles….Robinson Cano is tied for the Eastern League lead in triples with 6.…The Thunder have a 12-17 record in games decided by two runs or less.…The Fisher Cats come into Trenton only carrying 22 players and only 4 infielders.… The Thunder are 13-7 in their last 20 games. In those 20 games, the Thunder have scored first in 17.…. Yesterday was the sixth time this season that the Thunder have failed to sweep a series after winning the first two games.… The Thunder have hit the second most homers in the Eastern League, 69, behind only Erie…..Pitching match ups for the rest of the weekend series with New Hampshire have Javier Ortiz (4-3) going against Gustavo Chacin (4-2) tomorrow, Todd Ozias (4-3) taking on Buddy Carlyle (4-0) in Game 1 on Saturday, with Josh Banks (0-1) going against a still undecided starter fro Trenton in Game 2. The series finale on Sunday has Cam Reimers (7-3) going against Sean Henn (3-2).

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