Saturday, April 24, 2010

Charlotte Stone Crabs 6, Jupiter Hammerheads 4

[Via email from Grant McAuley, Stone Crabs Broadcaster.]

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Charlotte Stone Crabs launched a three-run ninth inning rally to escape with a 6-4 win over the Jupiter Hammerheads on Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium.

A lead-off walk to Jake Jefferies may have set the stage for the wild ninth inning, but the rally came thanks to the most modest weapon in the offensive arsenal. The bunt.

Trailing 4-3, Charlotte manager Jim Morrison opted to play for the run his team needed to tie. After Omar Luna checked in to pinch-run for Jefferies, Mike Sheridan laid down a sacrifice bunt attempt that was fielded by Jupiter reliever Cory Madden (1-1), who threw late to second base in an attempt to force out Luna.

The bunts did not stop there. Reid Fronk followed with another picture-perfect sacrifice attempt, pushing the ball toward third base. Madden pounced off the mound only to bobble the ball and then throw wildy to first, sending the ball up the right field line.

Madden's throwing error gave Charlotte a 5-4 lead as both runners scored and Fronk ended up at third. Stephen Vogt followed with a pinch-hit single past the drawn-in infield to make a 6-4 game.

That unorthodox rally salvaged a game in which Charlotte took an early lead and then fought a seesaw battle with Jupiter throughout the night.

Third baseman Henry Wrigley continued his torrid hitting to open the season. Wrigley belted his fourth homer of the year in the first inning, a towering blast that tied him atop the Florida State league home run leaderboard. He finished the night 2-for-4 and raised his league-leading average to .385 through 14 games.

Charlotte starter Chris Andujar battled wildness and a pair of throwing errors to give his club five innings of work. He allowed four runs - three earned - on seven hits but did not figure in the decision.

Tommy Rafferty (2-1) picked up the win with a scoreless eighth inning. He combined with Mike Jarman and Jash Satow, who notched his first save, to provide four shut-out innings of relief. That lowers the Stone Crabs bullpen ERA to 1.03 over their 52 2/3 combined innings of work this season.

The series continues tomorrow as the Stone Crabs send left-hander Matt Moore (0-1) to the mound in search of his first win of the season. Jupiter will counter with righty Johnny Dorn (1-1). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m.

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