Charlotte Stone Crabs 3, Bradenton Marauders 2
The Marauders also lost to a bottom-of-the-9th rally, in Charlotte. Bradenton jumped out to an early lead with a run in each of the first two innings. RF Robbie Grossman opened the game with a walk, then stole second base and moved to third on 2B Jarek Cunningham’s ground out. C Chris Snyder, with the Marauders on a rehab assignement, ripped a line drive double into center field, and Grossman scored easily. The 2nd inning also began with a walk, this one to 1B Cole White. LF David Rubinstein singled, and 3B Elevys Gonzalez moved both runners up one base with a sacrifice bunt. White scored on SS Benji Gonzalez’ ground out to first. Rubinstein advanced to third, but was picked off base to end the inning.
Kyle McPherson made the start for the Marauders, and went 5.2 innings, allowing only one run, on 4 hits, no walks, and 3 strikeouts. The run came in the bottom of the 1st, on a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single, scoring the runner from second. McPherson worked around a single and an error in the 3rd inning. He gave up a lead-off single in the 5th, but Snyder threw that runner out trying to steal second base. After two outs and a hit batter in the 6th, McPherson was relieved by Jhonathan Ramos, who ended the inning with a fly out. Ramos buzzed through the next two innings, allowing only one single, then erasing that runner with a double play.
Bradenton had at least one runner on base in several innings, but could not score. Cunningham doubled and CF Evan Chambers walked in the 5th, but Chambers was picked off first base. Walks to Benji Gonzalez and Cunningham put two runners on again in the 7th, but again both were left stranded.
Duke Welker took the mound with a one-run lead going into the bottom of the 9th. He walked the first two batters he faced, then threw a wild pitch on strike three, moving both up a base. A third walk loaded the bases. Then a line drive single into right field, accompanied by a fielding error by Grossman, brought the winning run in from third, and gave the Stone Crabs the win.
Welker was charged with both a Blown Save and the loss, while McPherson got no decision. The Marauders had 6 hits, with two each by Rubinstein (two singles) and Snyder (single and double).
Savannah Sand Gnats 8, West Virginia Power 2
The Power were held to just 2 hits in their home opener. They also committed 4 errors, and luckily none of the errors led to more scoring. The first five Power batters to come to the plate struck out, then the next six went down in order, before 1B Matt Curry and 3B Eric Avila smacked back-to-back singles in the 4th inning. But Curry was out at third on Avila’s hit to end the only threat the Power would make. DH Justin Howard was the only other Power base runner, when he walked to lead off the 5th inning, but he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Brandon Cumpton was charged with the loss, as he allowed 7 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings. Savannah scored two runs in the top of the 1st, with a double, a walk, an RBI single, and an RBI ground out. The Power’s first error came in that inning, a fielding error by Avila, but it did not contribute to the scoring. Savannah scored again in the 2nd inning, on a 2-run homer, then a double and an RBI single. They would have scored again on another double, but LF Rogelios Noris and SS Drew Maggi combined on a throw in from left field to C Elias Diaz, who tagged out the lead runner at the plate. A lead-off homer in the 3rd gave the Sand Gnats a 6-0 lead. The second fielding error came in the 3rd, a fielding blunder by Maggi, which also did not contribute to the scoring. A hit batter, a wild pitch by Cumpton, and an RBI double added another Savannah run in the 4th.
Reliever Kevin Decker took over for Cumpton in the top of the 5th. Decker pitched 3 scoreless innings, allowing a single in both the 5th and 6th, and also working around a fielding error by CF Mel Rojas. Zach Foster pitched the final two innings for the Power. He gave up a run in the 8th on a hit batter, a stolen base, and an RBI single. The fourth error of the game followed the single, another fielding error by Maggi, but no further runs scored. Foster retired the side in order, with 2 strikeouts, in the top of the 9th.