Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, Bradenton Marauders 3
A 9th-inning rally by the Marauders fell short, as Quinton Miller took his 5th loss of the season. Miller also faced the minimum over the first three innings, allowing just a single in the 3rd, then removing that runner with a double play. Lakeland got going in the bottom of the 4th, with a triple, and RBI single, an RBI double, and another RBI single, for 3 runs off Miller. A single and a double added another run for the Tigers in the 6th. Miller pitched 6 innings and allowed those 4 runs on 7 hits, no walks, plus 2 strikeouts.
The Curve put one runner on base in each of the first six innings. SS Benji Gonzalez singled twice and stole second base each time (1st and 3rd). CF Evan Chambers, 1B Aaron Baker, and DH Calvin Anderson all walked. RF Robbie Grossman doubled in the 6th inning. None of them could come around to score. The Marauders got onto the scoreboard in the 7th inning, when Chambers led off with a single, then Anderson blasted a 2-run homer, to cut the Tigers’ lead to 4-2.
Donnie Veal made his first appearance since elbow surgery last year in the 7th inning. With one out, Veal loaded the bases with a walk, a double, and a walk, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out.
In the top of the 8th, Grossman and Baker led off with back-to-back walks. Both were erased when LF Adalberto Santos flied out into a triple play — Santos was out on the fly ball to right field. The Tigers’ right fielder then fired in to short for the out on Baker, and then relayed on to third for the out on Grossman. That resulted in an argument by Grossman and Marauders’ manager Carlos Garcia, and both of them were ejected from the game.
Brett Sinkbeil pitched a scoreless 8th inning, giving up a single, but erasing that runner with a double play. The Marauders’ 9th inning rally began with a one-out single by C Carlos Paulino and a double by Anderson, to put Paulino on third. Paulino scored on 3B Kelson Brown’s ground out, but that was all the Marauders could get, falling one run short.
Lakewood BlueClaws 7, West Virginia Power 3
The Power also rallied in the bottom of the 9th but fell short. With Zac Fuesser getting the start for the Power, the Claws scored two runs in each of the first two innings. A single and two doubles brought in two runs in the 1st, and a single and a 2-run homer made it 4-0 in the 2nd inning. Fuesser scattered two more hits over the next three innings, and exited after the 5th. He was charged with the loss.
The Power also put runners on base in each of the first four innings — a double by RF Dan Grovatt, and singles by Grovatt, 1B Matt Curry, C Elias Diaz, and LF Rogelios Noris. They scored their first run in the 5th, when 3B Eric Avila doubled, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on CF Mel Rojas’ sacrifice fly.
Brooks Pounders relieved Fuesser to begin the 6th. That was when the Claws broke the game open with a pair of homers — a solo homer to open the inning and a 2-run homer moments later. Claws up, 7-1. Kevin Decker pitched the final two innings for the Power, allowing 2 hits and a walk, but keeping Lakewood from scoring again.
The Power made one more try in the bottom of the 9th, when the first three batters reached base safely. Diaz beat out an infield single to short, and 2B Andy Vasquez singled into left field. Avila’s second double plated both Diaz and Vasquez, but the next three batters were retired, and the game was over.