Playoff Game 2 is in the books in both the International and Eastern Leagues, and while Trenton heads home on the heels of a series-tying win, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s postseason is one loss away from being over.
SCRANTON: The SWB Yankees were pushed to the brink of elimination in Pawtucket Thursday night, as the PawSox’ 3-2 win gives them a 2-0 lead as their best-of-five series heads back to Rochester.
For the second straight night, SWB got out to an early lead, plating two runs in the second on an RBI groundout by Austin Romine and a double by Melky Mesa. Pawtucket cut the deficit in half thanks to a fifth-inning RBI double by Bryce Brentz, then took the lead in the seventh thanks to a defensive miscue; after a single by Brentz scored Nate Spears to tie the game, PawSox shortstop Jonathan Hee followed with his own single to right field – but in an attempt to nail Brentz trying for third, SWB right fielder Cole Garner threw the ball away, allowing Brentz to score the go-ahead (and eventual winning) run.
SWB would get two men on in the ninth for the second straight night, but Jose de la Torre got shortstop Ramiro Pena to fly out to end the game, notching his second save in two nights.
On the mound, Ramon Ortiz (0-1) took the loss despite a quality start that saw him give up three runs (but only one earned) in 6.1 IP. IL All-Star Juan Cedeno struck out the only batter he faced, and Preston Claiborne struck out two in 1.1 IP to close it out. Offensively, six of SWB’s seven hits came from the triad of Garner, Pena, and first baseman Luke Murton, who each had two apiece, and the seventh was Mesa’s RBI double.
The series now shifts back to SWB’s temporary home in Rochester, where the Yankees must win three straight to advance to the Governor’s Cup Finals. Game 3 is set for Friday night at 7:05 p.m., with lefty Mike O’Connor (3-6, 3.73) on the mound for the Yanks while the son of one of the most infamous Red Sox ever, Billy Buckner (8-6, 3.91), tires to push Pawtucket to their first playoff series sweep ever.
TRENTON: The Thunder broke open a nail-biter in the ninth inning, plating three runs in the final frame to score a 4-1 win over Reading and tie their Eastern League Division Series at one game apiece.
It was Reading who struck first on Thursday night, scoring a first-inning run off David Aardsma, who started the game for Trenton as the next step in his current MLB rehab assignment. But that was all the R-Phils would get, as scheduled starter Shaeffer Hall allowed just one hit and two walks in 5.2 shutout innings, and the quarter of Graham Stoneburner, Lee Hyde, Branden Pinder (W, 1-0), and Ryan Pope (S, 1) allowed just two baserunners in the final 2.1 innings to close out the win.
Offensively, Trenton scratched out just five hits, and after allowing a leadoff double to center fielder Adonis Garcia, Phillies starter Trevor May retired the next 12 batters in a row before Addison Maruszak’s solo homer to lead off the fifth tied the game at 1-1. Both teams then traded zeroes until the ninth, when a strategic move by the Phils backfired and gave Trenton the win.
David Adams grounded out to open the final frame, but after Zoilo Almonte walked, Maruszak followed with a single to put runners on first and second with one out. A wild pitch moved them up a base, and after JR Murphy struck out, Phillies pitcher Colby Shreve intentionally walked Kevin Mahoney to set the stage for some potential fireworks – and that’s exactly what DH Rob Segedin provided, lacing a triple to right that cleared the bases and gave Trenton the 4-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
With the tally tied at one, the series now moves to Trenton for Games 3-5, with Game 3 set for 7:05 p.m. on Friday night. Right-hander Mikey O’Brien (5-7, 4.20) will be on the hill for the Thunder, while the R-Phils are expected to counter with righty Ethan Martin (5-0, 3.18).
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