By Adam Giardino / Trenton Thunder | September 8, 2017 11:26 PM ET
TRENTON, NJ -- Justus Sheffield and Taylor Widener combined to throw the first playoff no-hitter in the Thunder's franchise history in a 2-0 victory over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in Game Three of the Eastern Division Championship Series.
With the victory, the Thunder take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and will send RHP Will Carter to the mound in game four in hopes of advancing to the Eastern League Championship Series for the second straight season.
In his Double-A debut Widener- a 12th Round pick out of University of South Carolina in last year's draft- stormed out of the bullpen after Sheffield went the first four innings without a hit. Sheffield was in his second appearance since coming off the Disabled List with an oblique injury, was limited to just 60 pitches and looked sharp striking out three. Then Widener came in and fired five innings, striking out seven to polish off the feat.
The offense rolled out to an early lead on Binghamton's starting pitcher Marcos Molina, applying pressure right out of the gate. In the bottom of the 1st inning, Jeff Hendrix began the night with a single before advancing up to second on a hit by pitch to Thairo Estrada. Rehabbing big leaguer Clint Frazier then stroked a sharp single into left field to score Hendrix without a throw for a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the 8th inning when Dante Bichette Jr. flared a single over the top of the second baseman Luis Guillorme with one out and was replaced on the bases by Abiatal Avelino. Two batters later, Nick Solak worked a full count and drilled an opposite-field double to score Avelino who was off on the pitch to double the lead. That set the table for the top of the 9th for Widener's 1-2-3 inning.
The no-hitter is the fifth in Eastern League playoff history, with the most recent coming on September 12, 1994 by Bill Pulsipher for the Binghamton Mets. Prior to that, the other three playoff no-hitters in Eastern League history came in 1948, 1937 and 1934
It is also the fourth no-hitter in the 24 years of Trenton Thunder history, and just the third nine-inning no-hitter in Thunder history. Just last season, Ronald Herrera (8.0 IP) and Jonathan Holder (1.0 IP) combined on an April no-no against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the first for the Thunder since Tyler Clippard in 2006.
With the performance by Widener, the Thunder bullpen is up to 16.1 innings in the series, having allowed one run on nine hits while striking out 18 batters.
With the win, the Trenton Thunder move to within one game of advancing to the Eastern League Championship Series. After tossing a one-hitter in a Game 1 win over the Bowie Baysox, the Altoona Curve used the bats to defeat Bowie 8-4 in Game 2 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the Western Division Championship Series.
Your Thunder turn to RHP Will Carter (3-1, 3.26) in Game 4 as he will be opposed by Binghamton's RHP Mickey Jannis (8-7, 3.60). First pitch at ARM & HAMMER Park is set for 7:00 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning on 920 AM WNJE The Jersey at 6:40 p.m. and online at www.trentonthunder.com/broadcast.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.