(Erie, PA) - Trailing by a run and down to a final strike in the ninth, Erie recorded back-to-back singles to plate the tying and then winning runs as the SeaWovles dropped the Trenton Thunder, 3-2, in heartbreaking fashion Tuesday night at Jerry Uht Park.
Gary Sanchez had the final out in his glove on Jamie Johnson's single to left when Ramon Flores made a perfect throw to the plate, but the catcher had the ball dislodged by Erie's Marcus Lemon for an error that allowed the tying run to score. The next batter Eugenio Suarez singled home Johnson, as that time Flores' throw from left sailed over Sanchez's head.
The Thunder (59-56) dropped the opener of the three-game series but still maintained a three-game lead for the Eastern Division Wild Card spot over third-place Portland, which lost to Richmond 8-2 on Tuesday.
Trenton led 2-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, and Danny Burawa (4-3) sandwiched a walk in between a strikeout and a groundout to leave Lemon at first base with two outs in the frame. The next batter was Johnson, who fell behind 0-2, but then took two out of the strike zone including a wild pitch that advanced Lemon to second.
That set the stage for Johnson's single to left on a 2-2 pitch, with Sanchez's subsequent missed-catch error plating Lemon and allowing Johnson to move to second. Suarez then singled on a 2-0 pitch to win the game and give Trenton its first loss all season after leading through six innings (47-1).
The Thunder scored two runs in the sixth against Erie starter Ramon Garcia. After Flores led off with a single, Slade Heathcott tripled to center to tie the score at 1. The next batter was Sanchez, who doubled to center on a 3-0 pitch to give Trenton the lead.
Nik Turley (5.0 innings pitched, one run), David Herndon (2.0 innings, no runs) and Diego Moreno (1.0 inning pitched, no runs) held the lead for the Thunder until Erie's two-out rally in the ninth.
Game two of the series is slated for a 7:05 pm first pitch on Wednesday night. Thunder left-hander Jeremy Bleich (1-1, 2.72) will pitch against former Trenton right-hander Kelvin Perez (1-0, 3.32). Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.