PP Game Notes: Thunder 2, Navigators 0

There is a song lyric that states, "It takes two to make the thing go right" and on this night two would end up being a highly recurrent theme. The Trenton Thunder defeated the Norwich Navigators by a score of 2-0 on a warm, muggy night at Waterfront Park. The 6,388 fans who attended saw a gem of a game between the two teams directly ahead of one another, jockeying for position in what has become a wide open Eastern League Northern division.

Spot starter Justin Pope, making his second consecutive spot start for the Thunder, pitched spotless baseball allowing only one hit in his complete game shutout. The Navigators lone hit came on a weak seeking eye single up the middle off the bat of Michael Cervenak with two outs in the seventh. Pope faced only two batters over the minimum and had a no hitter through the first six and two thirds innings. Pope also retired the first 12 batters he faced to start the game before allowing a walk to Cervenak.

Norwich starter Josh Habel lasted only two innings before leaving with an unidentified muscle strain in favor of Mitch Walk. Walk pitched four and one third innings behind Habel and took the loss for Norwich. Both teams offenses managed only two hits between them, one for each team. Trenton took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning after Jason Grove doubled to the right field corner, allowing Craig Wilson, who walked one batter earlier to lead off the inning to score all the way from first. After Grove advanced to third on Omar Fuentes' ground out, a wild pitch by Walk to David Parrish scored Grove from third to account for their second run, which was all they would need.

For the second time this season the Thunder set the franchise record for the shortest nine inning game ever at Waterfront Park. The first time was on May 25th against Harrisburg when the Thunder recorded a 1-0 win in one hour and fifty-eight minutes. Last night's contest against the Navigators was two minutes better. The Thunder managed a 2-0 victory in only one hour and fifty-six minutes, setting the franchise mark twice in one season.

Pope's strong outing also saved the bullpen that will be relied up on heavily in tomorrow's Game Two of this three game series. Francisco Villegas will be making a spot start, coming out of the bullpen. According to Merrill, he will go as long as he can. Steve Karsay is supposed to join the Thunder tomorrow and pitch out of the bullpen, which should add some depth to a thin Thunder bullpen.

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