Tampa Yankees 5, Bradenton Marauders 3
Three hits by 3B Elevys Gonzalez were not enough for the Marauders to catch up to the Yankees, as Nate Baker lost his second game of the season. The Marauders scored first with a run in the top of the 3rd. C Carlos Paulino and SS Kelson Brown led off with back-to-back singles, then a sacrifice bunt by RF Robbie Grossman and a sacrifice fly by 2B Jarek Cunningham brought in Paulino with the first run.
The Yankees tied it up in the bottom of the 4th. Baker had allowed a single and double in the 1st inning, but a timely throw in from LF David Rubinstein, relayed by Gonzalez, let Paulino tag out the lead runner at the plate. Baker retired the side in order over the next two innings, then gave up a triple and an RBI ground out in the 4th to tie the score at 1-1. But Baker got into trouble in the 5th with a walk and a hit batter, and a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. One run came in on an RBI ground out, and two singles plated a run each, and the Yankees had a 4-1 lead. Baker finished with 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, plus 4 strikeouts, in 6 innings of work, and he was on the hook for the loss.
Elevys Gonzalez singled in the 4th for the Marauders. He stole second and moved to third when the Tampa catcher’s throw to second was wild for an error. A wild pitch got past the catcher, and Gonzalez raced for the plate, but he was tagged out when the catcher got to the ball and fired to the Tampa pitcher covering the plate. The Marauders went down in order until Gonzalez came up again in the 7th inning. He doubled, but was left on base.
The Marauders scored again in the 8th, on a rally that was started by another pair of back-to-back lead-off singles by Paulino and Brown. Grossman grounded to short, for what should have been a double play. Brown was out at second, but the Tampa second baseman’s throw to first base was wild, and Grossman was safe at first, while Paulino raced around third to score. Cunningham lined a double into left field, moving Grossman to third base. Rubinstein grounded to third, where Cunningham was tagged out, but Grossman scored. Bradenton had moved closer, 4-3.
Duke Welker relieved Nate Baker, and zipped through a 1-2-3 7th inning. Tampa scored an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, on a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. A fielding error by Brown at short put runners on the corners, but Welker got out of the inning when Brown started a 6-4-3 double play.
The Marauders started their last-chance top of the 9th with Gonzalez’s third hit, a single. Chambers was hit by a pitch, and DH Cole White bunted them up a base each. Pinch-hitter Ramon Cabrera was intentionally walked to load the bases, but ground outs ended the inning without any further scoring.
West Virginia Power 5, Kannapolis Intimidators 2
The Power took advantage of some wildness by the Kannapolis pitcher to score 4 runs in the 4th inning, giving them the win over the Intimidators. Starter Jameson Taillon pitched 4 innings and allowed one run on 4 hits and a walk with 3 strikeouts.
Both teams began their scoring with a run in the 2nd inning. Kannapolis had one double in the top of the 1st, then a pair of doubles in the 2nd, for their run. DH Justin Howard singled to lead off the bottom of the 2nd for the Power. He stole second base, then scored on C Kawika Emsley-Pai’s line drive single into right field. Emsley-Pai advanced to second base when 3B Eric Avila reached base on a fielding error, but a double play ended the inning.
Taillon retired the Intimidators in order in the 3rd inning. He began the 4th with two outs, but then loaded the bases with a hit batter, a single, and a walk. A grounder to third for a force out ended the inning.
The Power began the bottom of the 4th with a single up the middle by CF Mel Rojas. Rojas stole second, then moved up to third base on a wild pitch. Emsley-Pai and Avila both walked to load the bases and send the Kannapolis starter to the showers. LF Andy Vasquez cleared the bases with a triple, then he scored on 2B Gift Ngoepe’s RBI ground out. Power up, 5-1.
The Power missed a scoring opportunity in the 5th. 1B Matt Curry and Howard both singled, putting runners on the corners. Rojas grounded to third, and Curry was tagged out at the plate, leaving Howard on second and Rojas on first. Emsley-Pai also grounded to third, but this time a fielding error left everyone safe, bases loaded. The rally ended with a double play, and the Power did not score again. SS Drew Maggi tripled in the 6th, but was left stranded. The Power had runners on the corners again in the 7th, when Rojas singled, then stole both second and third bases, and Emsley-Pai walked for the second time. A strikeout ended that threat. Ngoepe also had two singles, in the 1st and the 3rd, but was left on base both times.
Tyler Waldron took over for Taillon to begin the 5th inning. He was credited with the win, pitching two scoreless innings. Waldron allowed a single, but erased the runner with a double play. Zac Fuesser also pitched 2 scoreless innings. He worked around a pair of singles in the 7th and around a fielding error and a walk in the 8th, and struck out a total of 3 batters. Brooks Pounders took the 9th inning. He faced 4 batters: two strike outs, a fly out, and a solo home run.