TRENTON, NJ – Despite 14 runners reaching base, the Trenton Thunder were able to muster just two runs against the Portland Sea Dogs, and fell in the first game of an eight-game home stand, 4-2 on Thursday night.
Portland starter Henry Owens was all over tonight, throwing just 35 of his 77 pitches for strikes. He allowed just two runs on two hits, but seven walks ended his night before he recorded an out in the fourth inning. Pete Ruiz followed him for the Sea Dogs and tossed 3 1/3 innings of hitless relief, effectively shutting down the Thunder offense.
For Trenton, Nik Turley allowed a dozen baserunners – seven hits, four walks, and a hit batter – in 5 2/3 innings on the mound. The left-hander surrendered three runs, leaving with runners on the corners in the sixth inning, needing switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to get him out of the jam. Afterwards, Turley expressed his displeasure with the outing.
“I just felt like I couldn’t find it,” Turley told me after the loss. “And when I did, I lost it quick. It’s a little frustrating.”
Trenton got on the board first, scoring their first run due to a rough defensive inning from Sea Dogs catcher Christian Vazquez. After Ramon Flores worked a one-out walk, he advanced to second due to a passed ball charged to Vazquez. Flores would move over to third when Gary Sanchez flew out later in the inning, and then scored when yet another passed ball was charged to Vazquez.
The lead would not hold though, as Portland stormed back with a second inning home run from Michael Almanzar to tie the game, and a go-ahead RBI single from J.C. Linares after a Turley balk moved Garin Cecchini into scoring position.
The Thunder struck again in the fourth after Owens issued a single to Carmen Angelini and three walks, including a game-tying walk to Jose Gil, before being pulled for Ruiz with the bases left loaded.
When Ruiz entered, everything fell apart for the Thunder. Christian Vazquez instantly made up for his first inning mishaps, picking Carmen Angelini off third base on a very questionable call. Trenton manager Tony Franklin argued the play until he was ejected by third base umpire Blake Felix.
“Part of the game,” Franklin said afterwards. “Nothing unusual about it. As usual, when I go out there, everybody says I overstay my welcome. I’ve been known to be a terrible houseguest sometimes, so I was ejected. I objected to the call because I thought he got it wrong. That’s the only reason I go out there.”
After Franklin’s ejection, the Thunder fell apart. They failed to put another runner on base until Reegie Corona worked a one-out walk in the seventh inning. Worse yet, Trenton allowed four baserunners in the sixth inning, allowing Portland to take the lead on a two-out RBI single by Deven Marrero. The Sea Dogs would tack on one more insurance run in the ninth inning when three wild pitches were uncorked by Thunder reliever Manny Barreda.