The Charlotte Stone Crabs quickly overcame an early deficit to defeat the Clearwater Threshers 12-4 on Sunday evening at Charlotte Sports Park. The win was the Stone Crabs seventh in eight games and has moved them to within a half game of the leader.
Once again it was Henry Wrigley steering the Stone Crabs offense. Wrigley was a single shy of hitting for the cycle, going 3 for five with a double, triple and home run. He knocked in five runs on the night and now leads the league in home runs and is second in the league in RBI's.
Clearwater took an early lead in the fourth inning. Harold Garcia reached on a walk then later scored on an RBI triple by Steve Susdorf. Susdorf later scored on a sac fly by Joel Naughton to give the Threshers a 2-0 lead.
The Stone Crabs battled back to take the lead in the home half of the fourth. Tim Beckham opened up the inning with a walk. Beckham then stole second and later scored on a single by Jake Jefferies. Greg Sexton followed with a double to center. Kyeong Kang plated two runs with a single to left to give the Stone Crabs a 3-2 lead.
The Thresher came back to tie the game again in the fifth inning. Garcia struck an RBI single to left to score Korby Mintken and tie the game 3-3.
But the game would not remain tied long as the Stone Crabs struck for two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Reid Fronk and Beckham reached on back to back singles to get things started. Then Wrigley drove them both home with a triple to right field to give the Stone Crabs a 5-3 lead.
Clearwater would pull a run closer to the lead in the top of the sixth inning. The Threshers loaded the bases with back to back singles by Susdorf and Naughton followed by Jim Murphy being hit by a pitch. Tory Hanzawa singled to left to drive home Susdorf. The Stone Crabs picked up an inning ending double play to minimize the game and hold a 5-4 lead.
The Stone Crabs increased their lead in the seventh inning. Fronk reached on a walk and Wrigley cleared the bases with his twelfth home run of the season to give them a 7-4 lead.
Charlotte's offense continued to produce runs by manufacturing a five run eighth inning to put the game out of reach. Greg Sexton doubled to left to lead off the inning. Kyeong Kang followed with a walk. Matt Hall knocked in the first run with a single to left. Then Fronk doubled to left to score Kang. Hall and Fronk would both score on a single by Beckham. Wrigley drove home the final run with a double to left, giving the Stone Crabs their 12-4 margin of victory.
Joe Cruz earned the victory, allowing 4 runs on 10 hits with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks. Chris Andujar pitched an inning of shut-out relief allowing 1 hit and recording 1 strikeout. Michael Jarman recorded the save with 3 no-hit innings, striking out 4 in the process.
The series continues on Monday night as the Stone Crabs take on the Threshers at Charlotte Sports Park. Frank De Los Santos (5-3, 4.62) gets the ball for Charlotte vs Austin Hyatt (6-4, 4.66) for Clearwater.
Check back later this week for photos from Sunday's game.