TRENTON – After going 3-4 during their seven game road trip through Hartford and Altoona, the Thunder dropped the opener of their three game series with the Akron RubberDucks by a score of 6-4 in 11 innings on Tuesday night at ARM & HAMMER Park. The Trenton loss coupled with a Binghamton victory over Erie reduced their division lead to 7 1/2 games in the East.
Making their first visit to Trenton since last seasons Eastern League championship round, the RubberDucks jumped out to a quick lead against Thunder right-hander, Will Carter. Indians top-prospect Francisco Mejia delivered a first inning RBI double to give Akron an early 1-0 advantage.
Carter allowed back-to-back singles to open the second inning before the number nine hitter, Luigi Rodriguez delivered a two-run single to extend the RubberDucks lead to 3-0.
The Thunder would finally get on the board in the third inning after an RBI single by shortstop Thairo Estrada plated Nick Solak, who struck a two-out double to keep the frame alive. Solak went 4-for-6 on the evening.
Akron tacked on a fourth run in the fifth inning and took a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning before Trenton attempted to mount a rally. An RBI triple by Solak followed by another RBI single by Estrada put the Thunder within a run at 4-3. After a Mike Ford single put runners on first and second base with one out, Akron was able to escape further trouble by turning a controversial 5-4-3 inning ending double play on first baseman Ryan McBroom. Replay clearly showed that McBroom had beaten the throw by nearly a full stride, which drew the ire of Manager Bobby Mitchell, who was tossed by first base umpire Dave Attridge for arguing the call between innings.
After a one out single by Jeff Hendrix put Trenton in business in the bottom of the ninth, Solak roped a game-tying RBI double into the right field corner to knot the game at 4 runs.
The Thunder squandered their biggest opportunity of the night in the tenth inning when they were able to load the bases with just one out. With the winning run 90-feet away, catcher Francisco Diaz popped out to third base and right fielder Rashad Crawford struck-out looking to end the threat.
Reliever Cody Carroll was able to retire the first two batters of the 11th before he would ultimately surrender the lead to Akron. Centerfielder Greg Allen singled to center and immediately swiped second base. After a walk to third baseman Joe Sever, RBI singles by Mejia and first baseman Bobby Bradley put Akron ahead and ultimately gave them a 6-4 victory.