The Bradenton Marauders began their second straight post season appearance in their second year as a franchise, taking on St. Lucie tonight. Things looked good for the Marauders early on, as they led 2-0 after five innings. However, four runs in the final four innings, including two in the top of the ninth by the New York Mets’ high-A affiliate, gave Bradenton a game one loss.
The Marauders got on the board in the first inning when Robbie Grossman led off with a walk and moved to third on an Adalberto Santos double. Grossman scored in the next at-bat, on a Ramon Cabrera sacrifice fly, making the score 1-0.
Bradenton added their second run in the fifth inning. Benji Gonzalez singled with one out, then moved to third base two batters later on an Adalberto Santos single. Santos went 3-for-4 on the night with two doubles, accounting for half of the Marauders’ hits, and all of their extra base hits as they went up against Florida State League pitcher of the year Darin Gorski. Ramon Cabrera came through again with the RBI, this time bringing in the run with a single, putting Bradenton up 2-0.
Brandon Cumpton was the starter tonight for the Marauders, and cruised through the first five innings. Cumpton, who had a 3.66 ERA in 66.1 innings in the Florida State League this year, along with a 42:12 K/BB ratio, allowed three hits and struck out six, while allowing no runs and one walk in his first five frames. He ran in to a bit of a jam in the fifth inning, with runners at first and third, but got a strikeout to end the frame. The right hander got his 7th strikeout of the night in the sixth inning, but gave up a two out double, followed by a single, cutting the Bradenton lead in half.
Cumpton came out for the seventh inning and hit the first batter, then gave up a single, putting runners at the corners. A double play put two outs on the board, but also brought in the tying run. Cumpton followed that up with a single, which was his final batter of the night. Zach Foster came on and pitched 1.1 perfect innings to keep the game 2-2 going in to the ninth inning. Cumpton finished with two runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings, along with a walk and seven strikeouts. The seven strikeouts were one shy of his high-A best, which he set on July 28th.
Diego Moreno came on for the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff single, but followed it up with two outs. That had things starting to look good until Moreno gave up a ground rule double when the ball skipped under the fence in left field, putting runners at second and third. Another double would bring in two runs, giving St. Lucie a two run lead. Jeff Kaplan came on in the bottom of the ninth and struck out the side, sending down Elevys Gonzalez, Evan Chambers, and Cole White to take game one.
The Marauders will travel to St. Lucie tomorrow for two playoff games on the road. Brett Lorin takes the mound for Bradenton in Game Two.