[This article was written by Jim Donten, our Charlotte Stone Crabs correspondent.]
The Game: The Charlotte Stone Crabs improved their record by knocking off the Florida State League’s leading Palm Beach Cardinals by the score of 7-6 at Roger Dean Stadium. The Stone Crabs gave Palm Beach their second loss of the 2009 season and their first at home.
The Stone Crabs got on the board first in the second inning as Reid Fronk drew a walk and then stole second base. Nevin Ashley singled to score Fronk. The Stone Crabs added another run in the third inning when Pedro Powell doubled to left and then was brought home by Shawn O’Malley, putting the Stone Crabs ahead 2-0.
But that all changed in the bottom of the third as Palm Beach went on a scoring spree, picking up six runs in four innings. The scoring began when Omar Luna committed an error allowing Charles Kingrey to score. This was followed by a throwing error by Pedro Powell allowing two runs to score off the single by Jermaine Curtis putting Palm Beach ahead 3-2. The Palm Beach offensive attack continues into the fourth inning as Jose Garcia had an RBI triple to center to score Paul Vazquez. Then the Cardinals tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth when Thomas Pham singled to center to score Pete Kozma. The Cardinals scored their final run in the sixth inning following their second triple of the night, this time it was Paul Vazquez who was later brought home by a sac fly by Jose Garcia. Palm Beach now had a commanding 6-2 lead.
The Stone Crabs weren’t done yet. They mounted a comeback in the top of the eighth inning by scoring a season high five runs in the inning, The inning started off by a walk and then stolen base for Pedro Powell. Then Emeel Salem got a pass to first after being hit in the elbow by a pitch. Shawn O’Malley followed with a bunt single to load the bases. Palm Beach pitcher Shaun Garceau then issued a walk to Greg Sexton, scoring Pedro Powell, and leaving the bases loaded for Matt Fields. Fields delivered a two run single to left bringing the Stone Crabs within one run of Palm Beach. Reid Fronk tied the game with a ground ball that scored Sexton. The Stone Crabs took the lead when Nevin Ashley singled to right to score Fields, putting Charlotte ahead 7-6.
Matt Gorgen game into the game in the bottom of the eighth to hold the lead and pick up the save, his second of the season. Jose Mejias was the winning pitcher, giving up 1 run in 2 innings worked. The starter, David Newmann went 5 innings, giving up 5 runs (3 of them earned) off 7 hits while striking out 5 and walking 1. Shaun Garceau was the losing pitcher for Palm Beach.
What Went Right: Pitching; the pitchers combined for 10 strikeouts and finished the job with runners in scoring position keeping Palm Beach to 3-12 with RISP. Nevin Ashley; 2 for 4 and the game winning RBI. Matt Gorgen; kept his ERA at 0.00 pitching 2 innings and striking out 3 to record his second save.
What Went Wrong: Errors; 3 errors were committed, 2 of which contributed to runs.
A Look Ahead: The Stone Crabs take on Palm Beach for game two of the series tomorrow night at 6:05. Jeremy Hall is set to start for Charlotte.