The Game: The Charlotte Stone Crabs and Brevard County Manatees fought hard and exchanged the lead five times and combined for four home runs. But it was the Manatees that had the lead at the end of the game as the Stone Crabs lost 8-5 on Monday night at Charlotte Sports Park.
Brevard County was first to score in the second inning. Caleb Gindl got things started for the Manatees with a double to right and later advanced to third on an ground out by Eric Ferris. Zelous Wheeler followed with an RBI double to center to score Gindl and give the Manatees a 1-0 lead.
The Stone Crabs battled back to tie the game in the third inning as Christian Lopez led off the inning with a single to left. Lopez advanced to second on an error by Brevard County’s Zelous Wheeler. Shawn O’Malley followed with a single on a bunt to load the bases for the Stone Crabs. Emeel Salem knocked in a run with a sac fly to score Lopez and tie the game.
Brevard County did not sit quietly as they posted four runs in the fourth inning to retake the lead. Chris Errecart singled to left field to get the inning started. Then Caleb Gindl cleared the bases with a two run homer run. Eric Farris followed with a single and later scored on a triple by Sergio Miranda. Miranda scored on a single by Logan Schafer and the Manatees took a 5-1 lead.
The Stone Crabs answered with back to back home runs by Reid Fronk and Ryan Royster in the bottom of the fourth. Then in the fifth, the Stone Crabs put two more runs on the board. Cody Cipriano and Henry Wrigley led off the inning with back to back singles. Greg Sexton hit a fly ball to center, advancing Cipriano to third. Wrigley got caught in a run down between first and second on the play which allowed Cipriano to score and Wrigley was safe at second. Wrigley was drove home on an RBI double by Reid Fronk and the Stone Crabs tied the game 5-5.
Brevard County wasted no time in regaining the lead. Zelous Wheeler led of the sixth inning with a double to center and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Sergio Miranda. A wild pitch by Justin Garcia allowed Zelous Wheeler come home for the go ahead run and the Manatees regained the lead 6-5.
The Manatees added some insurance runs to the board in the top of the seventh inning. Caleb Gindl bounced on over the left field wall for a ground rule double to put a runner on the base path for Brevard County. But he didn’t stay on long as the very next batter, Eric Farris hit a two run homer to left. This gave the Manatees a 8-5 lead in which they held to the end.
Alex Cobb started for the Stone Crabs but exited the game early due to blisters on his hand, he pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed 1 run on 2 hits. Jose Mejias took over the mound and pitched 2 2/3 innings and surrendered 4 runs on 6 hits with 3 strikeouts and a walk. Justin Garcia suffered the loss allowing 3 runs on 3 hits in 2 innings of work while striking out and walking 1 each. Tommy Rafferty closed out the game for the Stone Crabs with 2 no hit innings while recording 2 strikeouts. Michael Bowman as the winning pitcher for Brevard County.
What Went Right: Reid Fronk; 2 for 2 with a home run, double, 2 RBI’s, a run scored and drew 2 walks.
What Went Wrong: The Bullpen; surrendered 7 runs on 9 hits combined between Jose Mejias and Justin Garcia.
A Look Ahead: The Stone Crabs and Manatees play game two of the series on Tuesday night at Charlotte Sports Park. Jesse Darcy (2-6) will pitch against Amaury Rivas (4-5).