After sweeping Binghamton in the ELDS, Trenton picked up where they left off in the first game of the ELCS. While they fell behind early, they used a big third inning to propel them to an 8-2 victory over Harrisburg.
The Senators drew first blood in the top of the second, as Justin Bloxom started with a double to left and later scored on a sac fly by Jerad Head for the first run of the game. Harrisburg doubled its lead in the third. Nik Turley walked Billy Burns and Steven Souza. They pulled off a double steal and Burns scored on a wild pitch, but the Senators’ lead was short-lived as Trenton came to life in the bottom of the inning.
Ben Gamel and Reegie Corona both drew walks and Ali Castillo laid down a perfect bunt, right between the mound and third, loading the bases with no outs. Mason Williams then slapped a single to shallow right, plating two runs to tie things up. Ramon Flores flew out for the first out, but Jose Pirela grounded a single through to left, scoring Castillo and giving Trenton the 3-2 lead. Castillo moved to second on the throw home. With two outs and two on, Tyler Austin swung at an ugly pitch that was low and away, but it got past the Harrisburg catcher and allowed Williams to score. Austin came back and tapped a single up the middle, plating Pirela and giving Trenton the 5-2 lead.
The Thunder added to their lead in the fourth, as Corona drew another walk and Castillo followed by tripling down the left field line and scoring Corona. Another run scored on a sac fly by Williams and Trenton took a 7-2 advantage. They added another run in the seventh, started by Jose Pirela who struck out for what should have been the second out of the inning. Instead, the ball got by Cole Leonida and Pirela easily was safe at first. Gary Sanchez then lined a double down the left field line, plating Pirela. Unfortunately, Austin flew out to left and Sanchez got thrown out at third to end the inning. Zach Nuding threw two strong innings in relief of Turley and Branden Pinder finished out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth, giving the Thunder the win and a 1-0 lead in the ELCS.
Ali Castillo: He was the only batter with more than one hit, going 2-3 with two runs scored, a triple and a RBI.
Mason Williams: The outfielder went 1-3 with a run scored and three RBIs, playing a big part in the Thunder rally in the third.
Nik Turley: The young pitcher came up big, after showing some struggles early on. He allowed two runs on five hits and three Ks over six innings, but he struck out an impressive ten batters.
Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin and Jose Pirela: Allwent 1-4 with a RBI. Sanchez had a double and Pirela scored twice.