The Game: The Charlotte Stone Crabs failed to sweep the Lakeland Flying Tigers after losing the final game of the series 7-2 on Thursday night at Charlotte Sports Park. With the loss, the Stone Crabs are out of contention for the first half FSL title as Fort Myers clinched the division.
The game was delayed an hour thanks to a storm that passed through the area prior to game time. But once things got started, the Stone Crabs wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as they ended a home run shy of a team cycle in the first inning. Shawn Williams got things started with a single to left field, followed by a double to right by John Matulia. Then it was Cody Cipriano with a two run triple to right that scored Williams and Matulia and gave the Stone Crabs a 2-0 lead.
Lakeland answered with a three run inning in the top of the third. Joseph Tucker and Justin Henry started the inning off with back to back singles. Christopher White drove in the first run of the inning with a grounder that allowed Tucker to score. White then stole second to give the Flying Tigers runners at second and third. Michael Bertram followed with an RBI triple to score White. Then Devin Thomas doubled to right to score Bertram and give Lakeland a 3-2 lead.
The Flying Tigers added to their lead in the sixth inning. Justin Henry hit an RBI double to left that scored Adrian Casanova. Then Audy Ciriaco and Justin Henry scored thanks to a fielding error by Shawn Williams. Lakeland posted another run in the ninth as Jeramy Laster scored on a passed ball and gave the Flying Tigers a 9-2 win.
The Charlotte Stone Crabs went through six pitchers on the night, with Alex Cobb recording the loss. Cobb gave up 3 runs on 8 hits while striking out 8 and walking 2 in 4 2/3 innings. Tommy Rafferty followed, pitching 2/3 innings and allowing 2 runs on 1 hit with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk. Brian Flores allowed 1 run on 2 hits in 2/3 inning. Deivis Mavares made his debut with the Stone Crabs by pitching a no hit inning with 2 strikeouts. Matt Gorgen was next with another no hit inning with 2 strikeouts and two walks. Justin Garcia closed out the game by pitching the ninth and allowing 1 unearned run off 1 hit with 3 strikeouts. LJ Gagnier was the winning pitcher for Lakeland.
What Went Right: John Matulia; 2 for 4 with 2 doubles and a run scored.
What Went Wrong: Missed opportunities; left 9 runners stranded and was 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
A Look Ahead: The Stone Crabs have the next three days off as it is the Florida State League All-Star Break. The All-Star Game is Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers. Cody Cipriano, Greg Sexton, Darin Downs and Matt Gorgen will represent the Stone Crabs for the South Division All-Stars.