BINGHAMTON, NY - Trenton shortstop Thairo Estrada hit for the cycle to guide the Thunder past the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, 9-6, in Game 2 of the Eastern Division Championship Series on Thursday at NYSEG Stadium. Trenton racked up 18 hits to even the best-of-five series at a win apiece.
The Rumble Ponies erased an early four-run deficit with a wild, five-run third inning. With two aboard, Kevin Kaczmarski cleared the bases by threading a triple into the right-field alley. Peter Alonso followed by blooping a run-scoring single to right. Three batters later, David Thompson drilled an RBI double off the base of the wall in right-center. He jetted for third when the throw from the outfield when home and dashed for the plate as Francisco Diaz's throw to third sailed wide.
Trenton bounced back and retook the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Dante Bichette Jr. and Zack Zehner chased Ricky Knapp from the game with back-to-back hits. Nick Solak greeted Drew Smith by pulling a two-run single into left. Diaz capped the inning with an RBI single to center. Estrada extended the advantage
Playing from behind, the Ponies compiled a handful of threats against the Thunder bullpen, but failed to break through. Binghamton loaded the bases in the fifth, but scratched out only one run on a bases-loaded walk to Nido. The Ponies filled the bases in the eighth, but Colten Brewer coaxed a groundout out of Kevin Taylor to end the threat.
In the top of the ninth, Estrada etched his name into the Thunder record books. With Jeff Hendrix on first, the shortstop punched the first pitch he saw down the right-field line and beat Kevin Kaczmarski's throw to second to complete the cycle.
Brewer worked a perfect ninth to claim the save and make a winner of reliever James Reeves (1-0).
Knapp (0-1) allowed six runs (five earned) on 11 hits over 4-2/3 innings. His loss was the first in five starts with Binghamton in 2017.
The Rumble Ponies and Thunder take the series to Trenton for Friday's game three. RHP Marcos Molina is slated to get the ball against Thunder RHP Justus Sheffield. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM at ARM & HAMMER Park. The Horizons Federal Credit Union Pregame Show can be heard starting at 6:45 PM on NewsRadio 1290 AM WNBF and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies channel on TuneIn.
POSTGAME NOTES: Binghamton's bullpen scoreless streak ended at 29.1 innings…the Ponies had a season-best nine game winning streak snapped…Ponies pitching allowed a season-worst 18 hits…Kevin Kaczmarski recorded his first four-hit game of the season…
Tickets for Binghamton's playoff schedule can be purchased at the NYSEG Stadium box office, online on www.bingrp.com and over the phone at (607) 722-FUNN.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.