Daytona Beach, FL - An eighth inning grand slam from INF Tim Saunders hoisted the Daytona Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Charlotte Stone Crabs on Wednesday at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
With the game tied at 2-2 with two outs and a 3-ball, 2-strike count on Saunders in the eighth, the infielder fouled off a few pitches before launching the grand slam into the jet stream in left-center field. During the plate appearance, Saunders popped a ball up in foul territory behind third base, but Stone Crabs third baseman Tyler Goeddel could not make the catch while reaching over the camera well.
Daytona trailed 2-0 after RHP Yao-Lin Wang surrendered two runs (one earned) in the first inning. CF Andrew Toles led off the game with a double off the top of the wall in right-center and scored on a 1B Patrick Leonard double. Leonard scored after Cubs SS Marco Hernandez committed a fielding error on a groundball to short with two outs.
The 2-0 Charlotte lead held through the middle of the six. In the bottom part of the frame, with LF Zeke DeVoss on second, CF Albert Almora also lifted a ball into the jet stream that carried over the left-center field fence to tie the game 2-2. The home run was Almora's second of the season and fourth extra-base hit over his last two games.
RHP Starling Peralta relieved Wang in fifth with two outs. With runners on first and second, Peralta struck out Leonard to end the inning. Peralta tossed 2.1 shutout frames, and surrendered just a single with one walk and three strikeouts. Peralta has retired eight of the 10 first batters he's faced this season, and stranded 11 of 12 inherited runners on base.
RHP Zack Godley (W, 1-0) earned his first win with the Daytona Cubs with two scoreless innings of relief. Godley pitched the eighth and ninth and allowed a hit while striking out two.
DH Dan Vogelbach went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Saunders finished 2-for-4 with the grand slam and his team-leading 10th stolen base of the season.
With the win, the Cubs have won back-to-back games for the first time since April 26th and April 27th against the Brevard County Manatees.
The two teams will square off in the series-finale on Thursday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.