Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, Bradenton Marauders 5
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A 5-run 2nd inning by Charlotte was too much for the Marauders to overcome. Starter Quinton Miller also had a tough start, allowing 6 runs on 6 hits and a walk in less than 2 innings. Charlotte was first onto the scoreboard with a solo home run in the bottom of the 1st, but the Marauders took the lead in the top of the 2nd. DH Calvin Anderson led off with a double, and CF Evan Chambers reached on a fielder’s choice, with Anderson out at third. 3B Elevys Gonzalez walked, then Chambers scored on LF David Rubinstein’s double. The double moved Elevys Gonzalez to third base, and he scored on SS Benji Gonzalez’s RBI ground out. The third double of the inning, by RF Robbie Grossman, brought in Rubinstein, for a 3-1 lead.
Charlotte came roaring back in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, Miller gave up two singles and a triple, to tie the score. A walk and a single scored the runner from third, and after a double steal, a double brought in two more runs and chased Miller from the game. Brian Leach came on in relief, but those 5 runs had given Charlotte a 6-3 lead. Leach allowed a single in the 3rd and a walk in the 4th, but did not allow any more scoring until the 5th. A walk, a ground-rule double, and a sacrifice fly brought in one run in the 5th, increasing the score to 7-3.
The Marauders threatened in the 6th, when DH Calvin Anderson singled and Elevys Gonzalez doubled, moving Anderson to third base, but a fly out ended that inning. In the 8th, the Marauders loaded the bases with a walk by 1B Aaron Baker, a single by Anderson, and a hit batter (Elevys Gonzalez). Rubinstein’s single up the middle brought in both Baker and Anderson, moving the Marauders a little closer, 7-5. The threatened again in the 9th, when 3 walks (to 2B Jarek Cunningham, C Ramon Cabrera, and Anderson all walked. But three strikeouts ended the threat and gave Charlotte the win.
Jhonathan Ramos pitched two scoreless innings for Bradenton, and Tyler Cox pitched one scoreless inning to finish the game.
Greensboro Grasshoppers 3, West Virginia Power 2 (Game 1)
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The Grasshoppers took the first game of the double header with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 7th. Jameson Taillon made another strong start, with 8 strikeouts over 4.2 innings. He allowed only one run, and that was a solo homer in the 5th inning, coming with two outs already recorded. Taillon had to work around a base runner who had reached on a fielding error by 1B Justin Howard in the 1st. He gave up a pair of singles in the 3rd inning, but ended that threat with a strikeout. Taillon was relieved by Casey Sadler after the homer, but with the score tied, he knew he was not going to factor into the decision.
The Power had scored a run in the top of the 2nd. DH Chase Lyles walked, then advanced to 2nd base on CF Mel Rojas’s single. A wild pitch put Lyles on third base, and a balk allowed him to come home and score. Rojas moved up to second base on the balk, and to third on a wild pitch. A walk by LF Rogelio Noris gave the Power runners on the corners, but both were left on base.
The Marauders broke the tie in the top of the 6th. 2B Andy Vasquez led off with a single lined into right field. He stole second base, then went to third on yet another wild pitch (the Greensboro starter Robert Morey threw 4 wild pitches). A single by Howard brought Vasquez across the plate for a 2-1 lead.
Sadler gave up a lead-off double in the 6th, but did not let Greensboro score. The Power also did not score in the top of the 7th. The bottom of the 7th, Greensboro’s last chance, began with a walk. A line drive single into right field moved the lead runner around to third base, then An RBI single drove in the tying run. A grounder force out put runners on the corners, and a single lined into left field plated the walk-off winning run.
Greensboro Grasshoppers 3, West Virginia Power 0
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The Power could not bring any of their 7 base runners around to score in the night-cap. Brooks Pounders made his first start of the season, but got into trouble right away, with a double and a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st. A solo homer in the 2nd gave Greensboro a quick 3-0 lead. Pounders also gave up a single and a double in the 2nd, but left those runners on base. Zac Fuesser pitched 4 scoreless innings after Pounder was done. He gave up two hits — one runner was caught stealing, and the other was out at the plate when he tried to tag up and score on what LF Andy Vasquez’s throw kept from being a sacrifice fly.
The Power had run out of power by the second game. They posted 5 hits and walked twice, but did not score. RF Dan Grovatt singled and 1B Justin Howard doubled in the top of the 1st, but Grovatt was also thrown out at the plate. The Power also had two hits in the 5th, back-to-back two-out singles by 2B Kevin Mort and SS Drew Maggi, but Mort was thrown out trying to reach third base on Maggi’s hit. 3B Chase Lyles walked in the 2nd, CF Mel Rojas walked in the 4th, and Howard singled in the 6th, but they were all left stranded.