Thursday night marked the second game of the opening round of the playoffs for both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley and both teams lost, being pushed to the brink of elimination by Trenton and Scranton Wilkes/Barre, both Yankees affiliates. Lakewood had the night off, but they have a chance to sweep Hagerstown in their best-of-three series while Reading and Lehigh Valley will be back in action looking to avoid getting swept in their respective best-of-five series'.
Here's a quick recap of Thursday's action:
Scranton Wilkes/Barre 7, Lehigh Valley 0
The Ironpigs fell behind 2-0 early, but had their chances to strike with runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings. They failed to capitalize as Scranton scored two runs in the fourth and fifth while tacking on their seventh run in the sixth inning.
Lehigh Valley went an abysmal 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position as Scranton starter Phil Coke scattered just three hits over seven shutout innings, striking out seven. Anthony Vasquez started for the Ironpigs, but lasted only four innings, giving up four runs on six hits. James Russell followed him out of the bullpen and surrendered three runs.
On the offensive end, obviously no runs were scored, but Brock Stassi, Nick Williams and Jesmuel Valentin all had doubles. The 3-4-5 hitters for Lehigh Valley went a combined 1-for-11 with three strikeouts.
On Friday night, the Ironpigs will travel to Scranton Wilkes/Barre looking to avoid getting swept. Phil Klein (5-1, 1.52) gets the start for Lehigh Valley. Klein was recently named International League Pitcher of the Month for August.
Trenton 9, Reading 4
The Fightin' Phils took a 1-0 lead in the first on a Jorge Alfaro sac fly, but the Thunder scored two runs in both the third and fourth inning to pull ahead 4-1. In the fifth, Reading cut the lead to 4-3. Harold Martinez and Scott Kingery led off the inning with back-to-back singles. A fielding error by Trenton allowed Martinez to cross the plate while Kingery scored on a Christian Marrero groundout. Unfortunately, Trenton scored two more in their half of the inning to pull away, 6-3. Dylan Cozens launched his 41st homer of the year in the sixth, but that is the only offense Reading would produce the rest of the night. Trenton scored three in the eighth to put the icing on the cake.
Ricardo Pinto took the loss for Reading, lasting just three innings, throwing 54 pitches. He gave up four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two. Miguel Nunez allowed three runs in the eighth. Offensively, Roman Quinn went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two steals, Scott Kingery also went 2-for-4. Dylan Cozens and Jorge Alfaro had one hit and one RBI each.
On Friday night, the series shifts to Reading for the first time. The Fightin' Phils will need to win to stave off elimination. Elniery Garcia will make his Double-A debut after going 12-4 with a 2.68 ERA with Advanced 'A' Clearwater this season.