(Manchester, NH) - New Hampshire scored single runs in the eighth and ninth innings against Thunder reliever Pat Venditte to erase a late deficit as the Fisher Cats completed a three-game sweep with a 2-1 win over the Thunder Sunday at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. Trenton dropped its fourth straight game, three of which have been by just one run.
The Thunder (65-61) saw their lead for the Eastern Division Wild Card spot fall to 2.5 games over third-place New Hampshire (62-63) with 16 games remaining in the regular season. The two teams will not play again this season.
Mason Williams' first Double-A home run snapped a scoreless tie with two out in the top of the eighth against New Hampshire reliever Ryan Tepera (9-8). It was just the second hit in 18 at-bats for the highly-touted Yankees prospect since being promoted to the team on Thursday.
The switch-pitcher Venditte (0-2), pitching for the third time in four days, worked exclusively right-handed in this appearance after throwing one inning exclusively lefty on Saturday. He allowed a game-tying home run to Kenny Wilson in the eighth (2), then issued a one-out walk to Jack Murphy in the ninth.
Danny Burawa relieved Venditte, but immediately allowed a single to Lance Zawadzki to put runners on first and second. Amadeo Zazueta then won the game with an opposite-field double just fair past first base into the right field corner.
The loss spoiled a brilliant pitching performance from Trenton's Scottie Allen, who was promoted from Class A-Advanced Tampa before the game to make the start in place of Jeremy Bleich (placed on the Temporarily Inactive List). Allen tossed 6.1 shutout innings, allowing only two hits and four walks.
Veteran Austin Bibens-Dirkx, also just promoted from the Florida State League to make the start, matched Allen pitch-for-pitch for the Fisher Cats by tossing 7.0 scoreless frames with only two hits allowed. In 20 innings pitched against Trenton this season Bibens-Dirkx allowed only one earned run.
Trenton continues the current six-game road trip on Monday with the opener of a three-game set at New Britain. Neither the Thunder nor the Rock Cats have announced a starting pitcher, with each team expected to add a hurler not currently on its active roster. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm Monday night.