[Recap provided by Stone Crabs Marketing Manager Jonathan Gantt]
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Charlotte Stone Crabs finally notched their first home victory against the Tampa Yankees with a solid 5-3 win at Charlotte Sports Park on Tuesday night.
Charlotte (19-19) had dropped its first six home contests against Tampa (20-19) dating back to July 29 of last season before finally delivering a home win.
The Stone Crabs offense scored runs in four of the first five innings despite going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and only scoring one of their runs on a hit. Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Matt Joyce went 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI-walk in the first game of his rehab assignment for a strained right elbow.
Charlotte reliever Marquis Fleming threw 2 1/3 innings of relief and struck out six of the seven batters he faced for the second time this season. He has now punched out 38 batters in just 22 2/3 innings pitched while posting a 1.99 ERA (5er/22.2ip).
Fleming took over for Stone Crabs starter Nick Barnese after the right-hander threw 103 pitches and could not make it through the fourth inning. He gave up three earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings while walking four and striking out three.
Tampa scored the first run of the game in the top of the second inning when Neil Medchill scored on an RBI single from Mitch Abeita off Barnese.
Charlotte responded quickly with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame when Stephen Vogt knocked a leadoff single followed by a double from Greg Sexton to left field. Vogt then scored on a groundout to first from Michael Sheridan, and Sexton scored on a sacrifice fly from Reid Fronk.
The Stone Crabs scored again in the bottom of the third when Joyce scored on a sacrifice fly from Vogt after doubling to right-center field to lead off the inning.
The Yankees then evened things up in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs with the help of three consecutive walks from Barnese to lead off the inning. Jose Pirela then capitalized with a two-run single up the middle, and Fleming came in to relieve Barnese.
But the Charlotte offense coaxed three walks of its own in the bottom of the frame to load the bases before Joyce took a five-pitch walk to plate Michael Sheridan from third base and give the Stone Crabs a 4-3 lead.
Sheridan then scored again for Charlotte in the bottom of the fifth inning when Reid Fronk doubled to right field on the 10th pitch of his at bat for the first Stone Crabs run scored on a hit during the game.
The Yankees had runners on second and third in the top of the eighth inning when Charlotte reliever Zach Quate walked Abeita to load the bases -- except Trent Lockwood inexplicably started to jog towards third base and drew a throw from Vogt to second base, which caught him in a rundown. Eventually, Brad Suttle was tagged out between third and home by Vogt to end the inning and the Tampa scoring threat.
Quate eventually closed out the game and picked up his fourth save of the season for Charlotte.
The teams will conclude the series tomorrow at Charlotte Sports Park with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Joe Cruz (0-0, 3.00) for Charlotte against righty Daniel Kapala (1-2, 2.75) for Tampa.