The Thunder took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. David Adams started the inning by lining a double to left, moving to third on a ground out by Zoilo Almonte. Addison Maruszak scored Adams with a single to right and Murphy followed with a homer to left, giving Trenton the 4-1 edge.
It was not going to be an easy victory, however, as Reading started to fight back in the top of the sixth. Eastern League MVP Darin Ruf started the inning with a solo shot to left. Hulett singled to center and Castro followed with a single of his own. Miguel Abreu singled to left, laoding the bases and Jiwan James hit a sac fly that plated Hulett and brought the Phillies within one run of the Thunder. Maruszak gave Trenton some insurance with a solo homer to left in the bottom of the inning, making the score 5-3.
David Aardsma came in for the top of the seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Tyson Gillies who moved to second on a wild pitch. A single by Asche scored Gillies, cutting the Thunder lead to one. Aardsma battled back, however, getting Ruf to fly out to center and Hulett to ground into a double play. The Phillies had one last chance in the top of the ninth, as Ryan Pope gave up D’Arby Myers started the inning with a single. Asche lined a single to center with one out, giving Reading two baserunners with Ruf coming to the plate. The highly touted slugger did not come through, however, grounding into an inning ending double play and giving the Thunder a 5-4 win and a shot at the Eastern League Championship.
Adonis Garcia/Ramon Flores: The first two batters in the lineup both went 0-4, with Garcia striking out once.
Zoilo Almonte/Rob Segedin/Walter Ibarra: All went 0-3, with Ibarra striking out twice.
Addison Maruszak: Maruszak went 2-3 with two runs scored, a homer and two RBIs.
JR Murphy: Murphy went 1-2 with two runs scored, a homer, two RBIs and a walk.
Mark Montgomery: The reliever went one inning and gave up one hit, striking out two.
Nik Turley: It wasn’t an outstanding outing, but considering it was just his second appearance in Double-A and it was in a big playoff game, Turley came through. He went five innings and gave up three runs on six hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
In the On Deck Circle:
The Thunder have a day off before they gear up for Game 1 of the Championship series against the Akron Aeros, who literally just beat Akron as I started to type this. Trenton will likely send out Brett Marshall, who will look to improve upon his performance in Game 1 of their series against Reading. Marshall went seven innings, but gave up four runs on six hits, allowing three homers. I will have more on Bowie and their starting pitcher tomorrow, but first pitch is scheduled to be on Tuesday at 6:45pm at the Akron Aeros’ stadium, Canal Park.