The Stone Crabs dodged a bottom of the ninth charge, beating the Bradenton Marauders 6-4 on Saturday evening at McKechnie Field. The top third of the Stone Crabs order scored all six runs and accounted for two triples in the game.
Bradenton took an early lead in the top of the first inning. Benji Gonzalez reached on an error to lead off the inning. He then stole second and later scored on an RBI single by Aaron Baker to give them a 1-0 lead.
The Stone Crabs bounced back to take the lead in the top of the third. Hak-Ju Lee singled to first to lead off the inning. Tyler Bortnick followed with an RBI triple to center that scored Lee. Bortnick then scored on a single by Brett Nommensen. Nommensen then stole second and later scored on a line drive to left by Mayo Acosta to give the Stone Crabs a 3-1 lead.
The Stone Crabs manufactured another three run inning in the ninth to extend their lead. Once again it was the top of the order getting things started as Lee led off the inning with a triple to right. Bortnick followed with an RBI single to score Lee. Nommensen followed with a single to right that moved Bortnick to second. Both runners advanced a spot on a double steal. Back to back sac flies by Greg Sexton and Mike Sheridan helped increase the lead to 6-1.
But the Marauders made things interesting in the home half of the ninth as they mounted a late game rally. Scott Shuman hit the first batter he faced, Evan Chambers to lead off the inning. Chambers then stole second to move into scoring position. Baker followed with a walk to put two runners on the bases. Ramon Cabrera drove home the first run of the inning with an RBI single to score Chambers. Baker then scored on a ground out by Elevys Gonzalez. Then Adalberto Santos drove home Cabrera for the third run off the inning. After a single to Cole While, the Stone Crabs rallied to record the third out of the inning and secure the 6-4 victory.
Merrill Kelly picked up the win for the Stone Crabs, improving to 2-1 on the season. Nate Baker suffered the loss for Bradenton.
The series swings back to Charlotte Sports Park for the finale on Mother’s Day. Kyle Lobstein will start against Kyle McPherson for Bradenton.
- Hak-Ju Lee (SS): 2 for 5 with a triple and 2 runs scored.
- Tyler Bortnick (2B): 2 for 4 with a triple, walk, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.
- Brett Nommensen (RF): 2 for 4 with a walk, RBI and 2 runs scored.
- Greg Sexton (3B): 0 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.
- Mike Sheridan (1B): 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.
- Mark Thomas (C): 0 for 4.
- Chris Murrill (CF): did not have an at-bat, pulled in first inning.
- Dustin Biell (PH-CF): 2 for 4 with a walk.
- Mayo Acosta (DH): 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
- Matt Hall (LF): 0 for 4.
- Merrill Kelly (Win, 2-1): 1 unearned run on 4 hits with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks in 7 innings.
- Deivis Mavarez (Hold, 1): pitched a perfect inning of relief.
- Scott Shuman: 3 unearned runs on 3 hits with a strikeout and a walk.