BRADENTON--The Stone Crabs continued their 11-game road trip, traveling to Bradenton to start a three-game set with the Marauders after winning consecutive games for the first time since the opening week of the season. However, despite 13 hits and great relief appearances by Jake Floethe and Nate Garcia, the Stone Crabs drop the series opener, 4-3.
The Stone Crabs fought their way back from an early three run deficit off starter Jesse Hahn, tying the ball game in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Drew Vettleson. The Stone Crabs right fielder finished the night 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.
But as the Marauders came up in the bottom of the eighth, Garcia walked Elias Diaz to start the inning, who later advanced to second on an Eric Avila groundout. Diaz then went to third on a wild pitch with Dan Grovatt, Bradenton's hottest hitter, at the plate. On a 1-2 count, Grovatt flew out to left fielder Willie Argo, who fired an absolute laser to home plate, but on a much debated call by manager Brady Williams, Diaz slid under the Casali tag for the eventual game winner.
Garcia took the hard luck loss, throwing an inning and a third, and allowing the game winning run without giving up a hit.
Jake Floethe bounced back nicely after a few sub-par outings in relief of starter Jesse Hahn, throwing 4 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on just four Bradenton hits.
While the offense did finish with 13 hits, the Stone Crabs had trouble getting them across the plate, hitting 4-for-15 with RISP and leaving nine men on base.
The Stone Crabs (10-23) send right-hander Roberto Gomez (0-5) to the mound on Friday and is opposed by Robby Rowland (2-0), first pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
You can listen live online to Stone Crabs broadcaster Rich Spedaliere at StoneCrabsBaseball.com starting at 6:15, or on your smartphone via the TuneIn Radio app.