After producing a combined 40 runs in the past two games of the series, the Charlotte Stone Crabs and Brevard County Manatees kept it close and produced innings on Saturday, fifteen of them to be exact. When the dust settled, the Stone Crabs walked away with a 5-4 walk-off win in front of the home town crowd.
Greg Sexton had a five hit night, tying Henry Wrigley for most hits in a game. Sexton’s fifth hit of the game came in the fifteenth inning, resulting in him later scoring the winning run.
The Stone Crabs broke the scoreless tie in the third inning. Tim Beckham continued his upward climb with two run home run to give them a 2-0 lead.
But the Manatees quickly answered back with three runs in the fifth inning to take the lead. Josh Prince, Sergio Miranda and Brock Kjeldgaard each drove in a run to give the Manatees a 3-2 lead.
It would not take long for the Stone Crabs to regain the lead, striking for two runs in the sixth inning. Stone Crabs offensive leader Henry Wrigley went deep to left field to lead off the inning, his ninth home run of the season to tie the game. The Stone Crabs later scored the go ahead run when a wild pitch on a Kyeong Kang strike out led to Sexton scoring from third and giving the club a 4-3 lead.
Zach Quate took over the mound in the eighth inning to preserve the Stone Crabs lead, but things did not fair so well for Quate. Prince would deliver and RBI single to right to score Michael Roberts and tie the game again. The run was only the second run allowed by Quate all season.
So the game continued on into extra innings. The Stone Crabs worked through their bullpen and in the fifteenth inning, decided to bring infielder Anthony Scelfo on to pitch. Scelfo pitched a no hit inning with a strikeout to set the table for the walk-off rally in the home half of the inning.
The winning rally was led off by Sexton’s fifth hit of the contest, a single to right field. Manatee’s pitcher Brandon Ritchie intentionally walked Kyeong Kang and Matt Hall to load the bases for the Stone Crabs. Isaias Velasquez followed through with an RBI to score Sexton and give the 5-4 win in the longest game of franchise history.
To earn the victory, the Stone Crabs used six pitchers in the contest resulting in a team high twenty strikeouts. Matt Moore made the start, one of his best starts of the season by recording 8 strikeouts and allowing 3 runs, however left the game after five innings with a no decision. Mike Jarman pitched 2 scoreless innings with 2 strikeouts. Quate allowed a run on 2 hits with 2 strikeouts in 2 innings. Sergio Espinosa made his Stone Crabs debut, throwing 3 scoreless innings. Neil Schenk struck out 5 in 2 scoreless innings. Scelfo was the winning pitcher, throwing a no-hit fifteenth frame with a strikeout.
The Stone Crabs look to sweep the Manatees on Sunday evening as they face off for the final game of the series. Shane Dyer (0-1, 1.50) will make the start for the Stone Crabs against Cody Scarpetta (2-3, 4.30) for Brevard County.