The Stone Crabs put an end to their three game losing streak by defeating the Clearwater Threshers 6-1 on Wednesday night at Bright House Field. The Stone Crabs pitching trio of Adam Liberatore, Sergio Espinosa and Matt Stabelfeld combined for 13 strikeouts on the night including a franchise high 7 by a reliever provided from Espinosa. The offense was led by Tyler Bortnick who enjoyed a 3 for 5 night.
The Stone Crabs took the lead right from the start. Hak-Ju Lee and Tyler Bortnick opened the game with back to back singles. Then Greg Sexton hit a one out single to center that loaded the bases. Lee scored on a ground out by Mike Sheridan. Anthony Scelfo followed with a two run double to give the Stone Crabs a 3-0 lead.
Clearwater posted their only run in the bottom of the first. Jiwan James singled to left to lead off the inning. James advanced to second on a ground out by Leandro Castro and later stole third base. The Phillies all-star second baseman Chase Utley, in Clearwater for rehab, drove home the runner with an RBI single to pull them within two runs of the lead 3-1.
The Stone Crabs struck for three more runs in the fourth inning to distance themselves from the Threshers. Chris Murrill drew a walk to lead of the inning. He then stole second and advanced to third on a ground out by Dustin Biell. Lee drove home the runner with an RBI single to center. Bortnick followed with his second hit of the night, a single to right. Then the Stone Crabs called the double steal with Lee moving to third and Bortnick to second. But they would not stay there long as Greg Sexton drove them home with a double to left, increasing the Stone Crabs lead to 6-1.
The Stone Crabs kept Clearwater off the board for the remained of the game as they cruised to a 6-1 win. Espinosa was the winning pitcher. MLB rehabber Jose Contreras was charged with the loss.
The series continues on Thursday night at Bright House Field. Kyle Lobstein will be on the hill for the Stone Crabs against Julio Rodriguez for Clearwater.
- Hak-Ju Lee (SS): 2 for with an RBI.
- Tyler Bortnick (2B): 3 for 5 with a double and 2 runs scored.
- Jake Jefferies (DH): 0 for 5.
- Greg Sexton (3B): 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI’s.
- Mike Sheridan (1B): 1 for 4 with an RBI.
- Anthony Scelfo (LF): 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI’s.
- Mark Thomas (C): 1 for 5 with a double.
- Chris Murrill (RF): 0 for 2 with 2 walks and a run scored.
- Dustin Biell (CF): 0 for 4.
- Adam Liberatore: 1 run on 5 hits with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks in 4 innings.
- Sergio Espinosa (Win, 2-0): no runs on 1 hit with 7 strikeouts and a walk in 4 innings.
- Matt Stabelfeld: 1 scoreless inning with a hit and a strikeout.