Bradenton Marauders 4, Brevard County Manatees 1
Kyle McPherson took a no-hitter into the top of the 9th, before losing both the no-hitter and the shutout on a solo home run. McPherson had been nearly perfect — or rather, McPherson’s pitching had been perfect, allowing no hits, no walks, and not even hitting a batter for the first 8 innings. The only Manatees’ batter to reach base was 2B Scooter Gennett, who was safe at first when McPherson couldn’t handle the flip from 1B Aaron Baker on a grounder in the 4th inning. The missed-catch error was the only error by the Marauders. McPherson made up for his mistake by getting a tapper back to the mound, and whirling to throw to second, starting a double play. McPherson struck out 6 batters, including striking out the side in the 8th.
The top of the 9th began with a ground out to short, but the second batter of the inning, C Sean McCraw, lifted a homer over the right field wall, for the Manatees’ only hit and only run. McPherson followed the homer with a ground out, then gave up the only walk he allowed, before ending the game with another grounder.
The Marauders were quiet in the first third of the game. 2B Jarek Cunningham was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 1st and was picked off base, and C Ramon Cabrera singled in the 1st, but those were the only base runners until the 4th. Cunningham began the 4th with a double lined into left field, and Cabrera bunted him over to third base. He scored on an RBI single by 3B Elevys Gonzalez.
The 5th inning also began with a double, by LF David Rubinstein. This time it was SS Benji Gonzalez who sacrifice bunted, moving Rubinstein to third. RF Robbie Grossman plated Rubinstein with a sacrifice fly. Cunningham was hit by a pitch again in the 5th, and again he was picked off first base. Cabrera added a third run in the 6th inning, when he walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, then tagged up and went on to third on a fly out. Elevys Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly brought Cabrera across the plate. The Marauders added one more run in the 8th, on a double by Baker and a ground-rule double by Elevys Gonzalez.
Altoona Curve 2, Trenton Thunder 1
Another fine pitching performance by the Pirates’ farmhands. Aaron Pribanic earned the win with 7 shutout innings for the Curve, allowing 5 hits and a walk, with 2 strikeouts. Pribanic gave up a 2-out single in the 1st, then put the Thunder down in order for the next two innings. The biggest threat he had to work around came in the 4th, which began with a walk. A ground out moved that runner to second. He came around to try to score on a single into center field, but CF Starling Marte’s throw to C Tony Sanchez was on-target, and Sanchez tagged out the runner at the plate. Another single put runners on the corners, but Pribanic got a fly out to end the frame. Two Trenton batters reached in the 6th, on a single and a fielding error by 3B Jeremy Farrell, but Pribanic got out of that jam too. He also allowed a single in the 7th.
Michael Dubee pitched a perfect 8th inning for the Curve. Noah Krol earned his 11th Save with a scoreless 9th, allowing the only Trenton run on back-to-back doubles to open the inning. A pop out and two ground outs ended the inning, with the additional dramatics of the Trenton SS Jose Pirela and his manager being ejected after Pirela was one of those ground outs.
The Curve scored their only runs in the 6th inning, though they posted 10 hits. With one out, SS Jordy Mercer singled, then scored on 1B Matt Curry’s double. Curry moved to third on a ground out, then scored on Sanchez’s RBI single.
2B Brock Holt had two singles and two doubles in the game, going 4-for-5, but did not come around to score. The Curve posted 10 hits, and had at least one runner on base in every inning but the 2nd, but also left 10 runners stranded.