[Via email from Jonathan Gantt.]
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Charlotte Stone Crabs welcomed the Bradenton Marauders to Charlotte Sports Park with a lopsided 8-1 drubbing on Thursday night.
Charlotte starter Nick Barnese (3-1) shut down the high-powered Bradenton offense with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He gave up just three hits on 97 total pitches and even picked off two runners at first base.
Barnese got plenty of support from the Crabs offense as they posted eight runs on thirteen hits including eight of the extra-base variety. Six players notched multiple hits, Henry Wrigley and Matt Spring both hit solo homers and Matt Hall went 3-for-4 with to lead the offensive attack.
With the win, the Stone Crabs (16-10) moved into a tie for first place with the Palm Beach Cardinals atop the FSL South Division.
Bradenton (15-12) scored the first run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the second inning, but Charlotte quickly responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame to take the lead. Matt Spring led off the inning with a home run to left field on a 2-2 offering from Marauders starter Jeff Locke. The longball was his second of the season. Jake Jefferies was then plunked before scoring from first base on a double to right-center field from Matt Hall, and Isaias Velasquez followed with another double to chase Hall home from second and complete the scoring for the inning.
Hall was involved in the Charlotte scoring again in the bottom of the fourth inning when he laid down a textbook sacrifice bunt to third base to move Reid Fronk to third, but the throw to first was wild and Hall ended up at second base while Fronk scampered all the way home.
The Stone Crabs added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Wrigley belted his solo shot to left field for his fifth longball of the season. Wrigley has now reached base safely in 23 of his 25 games so far this season.
Charlotte continued the onslaught in the bottom of the sixth inning with a heads-up baserunning play from Velasquez. With runners on second and third, Michael Sheridan grounded softly in front of home plate and Velasquez took off from third when Marauders catcher Tony Sanchez made the play to first base for the force out. Sheridan picked up an RBI on the play when the first baseman bobbled the transfer and watched Velasquez scurry home.
Stone Crabs reliever Josh Satow pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and kept the Marauders off the board to close out the game.
Locke (2-2) picked up the loss for Bradenton after giving up four earned runs in four innings.
The teams continue the series tomorrow with a 7:05 p.m. matchup at Charlotte Sports Park. Right-hander Joe Cruz (1-1, 2.77) will start for Charlotte against fellow righty Aaron Pribanic (0-2, 5.87) for Bradenton.
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