(Manchester, NH) - New Hampshire jumped on Nik Turley for six first-inning runs and never let the foot off the gas pedal as the Fisher Cats toppled the Trenton Thunder, 14-4, in the second of a three-game series Saturday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The Cats backed up their six-run first by scoring four times in the fourth and sixth innings. Trenton catcher Jose Gil was forced to pitch for a second-consecutive night, this time tossing a scoreless eighth inning after taking the loss in the 15th inning on Friday.
The Thunder (65-60) dropped their third-straight as third-place New Hampshire (61-63) moved within 3.5 games of Trenton for the Eastern Division Wild Card spot with 17 games remaining in the regular season. The two teams play for the final time this season on Sunday.
Turley (9-7) gave up three runs before recording an out in the first on a hit-batsmen, single, RBI double and a wild pitch. Later in the inning John Tolisano slugged a three-run double off the left field fence with two outs to make the score 6-0 New Hampshire.
The Trenton starter was pulled after three walks began the bottom of the fourth, and reliever Pat Venditte allowed a bases-clearing double to Adam Loewen that made the score 9-2. Turley was charged with nine runs (six earned) in three innings of work.
Zach Nuding and Tommy Kahnle combined to allow four more runs in the sixth, two charged against each hurler. Andy Burns two-run single highlighted the two-out rally.
Reegie Corona (RBI double) and Ramon Flores (RBI groundout) each drove in runs for Trenton, while the other two tallies came home on Burns fielding error at third base.
Marcus Stroman (7-4) worked 5.2 innings and allowed six hits and four runs (two earned) to get the victory for the Fisher Cats. Jose Pirela and Corona each had three hits for the Thunder.
The finale of the series is slated for a 1:35 pm first pitch on Sunday afternoon in one of the most important games of the season for Trenton. Thunder scheduled starter Jeremy Bleich had to leave the team Saturday for personal reasons, and so Trenton has not announced a starting pitcher. Righty Austin Bibens-Dirkx (3-3, 2.36) will start for New Hampshire. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 1:20 pm.