Bradenton Marauders 8, Fort Myers Miracle 7
The Marauders took the early lead, then had to hang on to it and keep the Miracle from catching up in the late innings. 1B Aaron Baker was the offensive hero in the game, going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI. He began the scoring in the bottom of the 1st with a 3-run homer, driving in both CF Robbie Grossman (single) and RF David Rubinstein (walk). The Marauders rallied again in the 2nd, which began with back-to-back singles by DH Cole White and 2B Kelson Brown. SS Benji Gonzalez bunted both runners into scoring position, and Grossman drove them both in with an RBI single lined into center field. Rubinstein doubled to plate Grossman, and Baker added another RBI to his total with a line drive single into center field to bring in Rubinstein. One more run came in during the 3rd inning, when Brown reached on a fielding error, stole second base, then scored on Gonzalez’s lined drive single into left. All those runs came off Fort Myers’ starter Tom Stuifbergen, who exited after the 3rd inning. The Miracle bullpen were able to shut down the Marauders bats — they did not allow another hit over the remaining 5 innings. Three batters walked (Baker, Brown, and 3B Elevys Gonzalez) but two were erased with double plays and the other was left stranded.
Jose Ascanio made the start for the Marauders, on his rehab assignment. He pitched the first inning and worked around a lead-off single. Then he came out of the game, though it looks like it was planned that way. Quinton Miller took over for Ascanio to begin the 2nd and pitched 4 innings. He gave up two singles and had a batter reach on catcher’s interference for one run, then a sacrifice fly brought in a second run in the 3rd inning. Two walks and a single plus an RBI grounder gave the Miracle another run in the 4th. Miller surrendered a ground-rule double to the first batter of the top of the 6th, and he was relieved by Duke Welker. Welker gave up two singles and a walk to bring in a run (charged to Miller), then another run scored while the Marauders were turning a double play. Jhonathan Ramos pitched 2 scoreless innings, and the Marauders were leading 8-5 going in to the top of the 9th. Diego Moreno came in to pitch the 9th. He gave up a walk, a double, a sacrifice fly, and a single, driving in 2 more runs to put the Miracle within one run of the Marauders. But Moreno and the Marauders hung on to make the two final outs and take the win.
Ashville Tourists 4, West Virginia Power 2
A four-run 5th inning led the Tourists over the Power. West Virginia starter Zach Fuesser worked his way through the first four innings, keeping the Tourists scoreless despite men on base. He got around a walk and a double in the 1st inning, and a walk and a single in the 2nd. The Tourists went down in order in the 3rd, and Fuesser hit a batter in the 4th. Things got ugly for reliever Trent Stevenson in the 5th, though. Three singles and a stolen base brought in one run. A throwing error by C Elias Diaz on a pickoff-attempt went wild, and another run scored on the error. A single and a triple made it 4-0 for Asheville.
After going down in order for the first four innings, the Power got one of the runs back in the bottom of the 5th inning. RF Dan Grovatt tripled, then scored from third on a passed ball. Grovatt scored the only other Power run in the 7th. He doubled with one out, advanced to third on a ground out, then scored on a second passed ball. The Power loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th, with walks to 1B Matt Curry and 3B Eric Avila and a single to Grovatt — making him only a homer away from hitting for the cycle. But a strikeout and a double play ended the inning and the game without a run scoring.
Stevenson was charged with the loss. Jason Townsend pitched 2 scoreless innings, with 3 strikeouts and no hits. Ryan Beckman pitched the 9th, allowing 2 singles but erasing one runner with a tag out at third base.