(New Britain, CT) - Shane Greene tossed seven strong innings and Ben Gamel drove home the tying and later winning runs to lead the Trenton Thunder past the New Britain Rock Cats, 3-1, in the rubber-match of a three-game series Wednesday night at New Britain Stadium.
The win, coupled with a New Hampshire loss at Portland, means the Thunder (67-62) hold a 3.5-game lead for the Eastern Division Wild Card spot over the third-place Fisher Cats (63-65) with 13 games remaining in the regular season. Portland (62-67), which comes to Trenton for the next four games, remained 5.0 games back in fourth.
Greene (7-3) allowed a third-inning run on Danny Santana's triple and Brad Boyer's RBI single, then settled in and threw his longest outing as a member of the Thunder. He allowed six hits and one walk, while striking out seven and throwing 96 pitches.
Gamel's first RBI hit tied the score at 1 with two outs in the fourth against New Britain starter Cole De Vries. It scored Kyle Roller, who hustled out a two-out double to left-center and advanced to third on catcher Dan Rohlfing's fielding error.
With the game still tied in the eighth, Ramon Flores blooped a leadoff double against Ryan O'Rourke (0-2). Dan Sattler relieved O'Rourke and retired the next two hitters but then threw a wild pitch and walked Jose Pirela, leaving runners on the corners with two outs.
Gamel then grounded the first pitch from Sattler back through the middle for the go-ahead single. A throwing error on Rohlfing later allowed Pirela to score the second run of the inning. Francisco Rondon retired the final two hitters in the ninth to record his second save of the season.
The Thunder next return to ARM & HAMMER Park for an eight-game homestand in which they welcome Portland for four games and then New Britain for four. The Portland series begins Thursday night at 7:05 pm, with lefty-hander Nik Turley (9-7, 4.09) expected to start against southpaw Henry Owens (2-0, 1.20).
Limited tickets are available through the Thunder box office at (609) 394-3300 or online at www.trentonthunder.com. Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:45 pm.