Trenton wins seventh straight, tops Squirrels in series opener, 6-5
The ball was flying out of ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday night, and the Thunder (51-29) took advantage to beat the Flying Squirrels (29-50) for their seventh straight win. Kyle Crick (1-7) was staked to a 4-1 lead in the second but the Thunder scored four runs immediately to re-take the lead and set the early tone.
The Squirrels are now 0-4 against the Yankees affiliate this season.
Crick walked Tyler Wade to start the first, and the speedy second baseman soon stole second base. Dustin Fowler got enough on a 2-1 pitch to bounce a seeing-eye single into center for a 1-0 lead. Fowler then stole second, and watched as Miguel Andujar drew a walk. However, Jeff Arnold flipped the inning upside down when he caught Fowler trying to steal third for the first out. That pushed Crick to get the next two hitters, and set up the Squirrels for a big second inning.
The odds were stacked against them with Daniel Camarena carrying a 5-1 record and a 1.81 ERA into the game. Chris Shaw, the Giants first round pick out of Boston College last year, rolled an infield single over third in his first Double-A at-bat. Two pitches later, Hunter Cole tried cementing his case for June’s Player of the Month with a two-run bomb over the left field wall. Ryder Jones followed with a hard double into the right field corner, and Jeff Arnold ambushed the first pitch he saw for another two-run jack to left that gave the Squirrels a 4-1 lead.
Jose Rosario led off the home second with his first home run to trim the deficit to 4-2. With one out, Crick walked the tying runs and let up a single to Wade that loaded the bases. Fowler’s impressive night continued with a game-tying two-run single, and Andujar broke the 4-4 tie with a sacrifice fly to right field. Crick (1-7) recovered and went 1-2-3 in the third, but let up a pair of hits to start the fourth and was removed for lefthander Christian Jones. In his finest appearance of the season, Jones only allowed one of the inherited runners to score to keep the Squirrels in striking distance at 6-4.
Camaraena shook off his rough second inning and retired eight straight before Darren Ford opened the fifth with a single back up the middle. Steven Duggar, another fresh face from San Jose, lobbed a double beyond right fielder Lane Adams for his first hit and RBI to make it 6-5. Unfortunately, that led to another stretch where Camarena retired eight straight to keep the Thunder ahead 6-5.
The Squirrels didn’t have another hit after Duggar’s double in the fifth, with Camaraena (6-1) shouldering the load for six-and-two-thirds, with four of the five runs charged coming in the second. Cale Coshow provided Trenton with an inning-and-a-third of perfect relief, and Jonathan Holder faced the minimum in the ninth for the save. After Jones threw 4.0 innings of hitless relief for the first time in his career, Preston Claiborne worked an easy bottom of the eighth that featured a pair of strikeouts in his return to Trenton. The 6-5 Thunder win sends them to seven straight victories, and 13-2 over their last 15.
The series continues on Friday night at 7:00 when Sam Coonrod (0-1, 3.75 ERA) makes his third Flying Squirrels start against Trenton’s Caleb Smith (1-2, 4.28 ERA). After this weekend series, the Squirrels will return home on Monday for their annual 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza to kick off a seven-game homestand. The full promotional schedule can be found here. Season tickets, mini plans, and group packages are currently available by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com.
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