Despite some outstanding defensive plays on the part of the Broncos they fell to the Thunder 4-2 on Memorial Day at Fairgrounds field.
RHP Eric Eden was making not only his first start of 2010 but the first professional start of his career. Eden pitched last year at the collegiate level for Western Illionois University.
Eden came out looking very strong in the top of the first, retiring the Thunder 1-2-3 to get the Broncos in the dugout. Unfortunately, after a one out walk to Ben Wolgamot, RHP Carlos Rangel, who was on the mound for the Thunder, retired the next two Bronco batters to end the inning.
Eden worked his way out of a first and third, one out jam in the second by striking out designated hitter Lester Contreras and getting shortstop Albert Gonzalez to foul out to left field.
Eden, on the mound in the third frame committed a throwing error to allow second baseman Mike Lewis to reach base. Leadoff man Dustin Smith immediatly hit an RBI double to plate the unearned run and put the Thunder up 1-0.
Eden, in the fourth frame walked first baseman Brian Nichols to lead things off, then got touched for a double to put runners on second and third. Left fielder Ron Fenwick walked to load the bases and Lester Contreras lined a two run single into right field to make the score 3-0 Thunder.
The Broncos, after recording just one hit through the first four innings finally broke through in the fifth. Designated hitter Dustin Spruill opened up the inning with a double, followed by a one out groundout by first baseman Gabe Memmert that moved Spruill up to third base. While centerfielder Bradley Goldsmith was up to bat Thunder catcher Manny Mejia let one get passed him and Spruill came home to score the Broncos first run and cut the Thunder lead to 3-1.
In the sixth with Carlo Rangel still on the mound for the Thunder, third basemen Ben Wolgamot reached on a throwing error by Thunder shortstop Albert Gonzalez and came all the way home to score on an RBI triple by leftfielder Kenneth Gilbert to make the score 3-2 Thunder.
LHP Aaron Jenkins replaced Eden in the fifth inning with two outs and got out of a two out, two on jam. In the bottom of the sixth Jenkins hit Contreras, then induced Albert Gonzalez to hit into a fielders choice when Mike Lewis hit an RBI triple off the wall in center to push the Thunder lead to 4-2.
That's the way the score stayed, tied until the ninth inning when Solenso Polanco, the Thunder closer emerged from the clouds and shut the door on the Broncos. Sanchez singled with one out in the ninth, followed by a Spruill single. Polanco tightened down and struck out Thennis and Memmert to close the glove on his first save of the season and give the Thunder the 4-2 win.
The Broncos fall to 1-4 on the year, while the Thunder move to 3-2. The final game of the series was played Tuesday night. Results of that game were not available as of press time.
On Sunday, LHP Brian Buchanan made his first start of the 2010 season for Broncos' manger Dan Firova. The lefty gave up a single to Dustin Smith to start off the game. After throwing over to first base four times and stepping off the rubber twice to chase Smith back Buchananan picked him off of first base and there was one away.
Mike Lewis then singled and Levy Ventura, the third baseman was the next batter. He crushed one into left center field for a two run homer and three batters into the game the Thunder led 2-0.
RHP Alex Shepard made his first start of the year for the Thunder and after two frames had only allowed two hits to the Broncos. A first inning leadoff single to Diaz, who was thrown out trying to steal and a one out single to designated hitter Dustin Spruill who was retired on a fielders choice.
In the top of the third center fielder Bradley Goldsmith walked, shortstop Ryan Flynn doubled and with runners on second and third second baseman Jason Diaz fouled out to deep left field and Goldsmith tagged from third and the score was Thunder 2, Broncos 1.
In the fourth with one out right fielder Doug Thennis walked, first baseman Gabe Memmert singled after Thennis stole second. The Broncos had runners on first and third. Goldsmith walked to load the bases and then Ryan Flynn took a walk to tie the game at 2-2; Flynn's second walk for an RBI in as many games.
Brian Buchanan pitched five innings, allowing just three runs on five hits, he walked four and struckout two. Buchanan would leave with a man on in the sixth and a 3-2 Bronco lead after allowing a walk to catcher Lester Contreras. RHP Brandon Veronee replaced Buchanan and immediately walked left fielder Kevin Butler, shortstop Albert Gonzalez then reached on an infield single to load the bases. Veronee got Dustin Smith to strike out and then Mike Lewis hit a SAC fly to right field that Contrareas was able to tag up on and score the tying run. On the same play the throw from right fielder Doug Thennis was up the first base line and Butler tried to tag from second to third. Luany Sanchez threw wide of the third base bag and Butler came home to score the go ahead run and give the Thunder a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh the Broncos struck back, Gilbert singled and with one out Spruill was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. After a fielders choice by Thennis there was two outs and first baseman Gabe Memmert hit a ground ball that Mike Lewis at seconed base just misplayed. The ball hopped over his glove, hit him in the shoulder and carromed into right field allowing Spruill to come home and score the tying run.
The score was 4-4 heading to the top of the ninth inning. Left fielder Kenneth Gilbert led things off with an infield single. Sanchez then popped out, Spruill struck out and with two outs Thennis roped an RBI double deep into the left center field gap that allowed Gilbert to score standing up and the Broncos had a 5-4 lead.
Jonathan Miller came on in the bottom of the ninth and gave up a single to Dustin Smtih. Smith then tried to steal second but the Broncos had pitched out and Snachez nailed him for the first out. Lewis then singled, but Miller tightened down and struck out and got Brian Nichols to fly out to left field where Gilbert made a spectacular catch slamming into the wall out and preserving the 5-4 victory.