Jupiter, FL - Down to their final strike twice in the ninth inning, the Palm Beach Cardinals tallied three runs in the frame to rally past the Clearwater Threshers 4-3 on Wednesday night at Roger Dean Stadium. Charlie Tilson was the hero, slapping a single into left-center field to bring home the winning run.
Trailing 3-1 with two outs in the ninth inning, Casey Rasmus ignited the Palm Beach offense with an RBI single to right. Bruce Caldwell, who reached on a walk, scored on Rasmus' line drive to cut the Threshers' lead to 3-2.
In his first game with Palm Beach since getting promoted from Peoria, Jimmy Bosco's first hit was a crucial one. The left fielder hit a chopper to third base and beat the throw for an infield single to follow Rasmus and keep the Cardinals' hopes alive. With runners on the corners, Clearwater reliever Jordan Guth skipped a pitch in the dirt, allowing Rasmus to touch home and even the score at 3-3.
With two strikes against him, Tilson laced a pitch out to left-center in the next at-bat. Bosco raced from second to home and slid by catcher Gabriel Lino to complete the dramatic comeback and lift Palm Beach to a 4-3 win.
The victory is the Cardinals' third walk-off win this season.
The Threshers (12-46) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before the Cardinals (28-31) got on the scoreboard in the fifth. Alex Mejia singled to right-center field to lead off the inning and was standing on third after David Washington lined a single into right. Rasmus recorded his first of two RBI on the evening with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Mejia and cut the Clearwater lead to 2-1.
Clearwater tacked on another run in the seventh off Aidan Lucas before the bullpen stiffened. Lucas finished the night after three innings of relief. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits and fanned one.
Iden Nazario (1-0) struck out two batters and picked up the win after tossing a scoreless ninth.
Kyle Helisek scattered seven hits over five innings, surrendered two runs and struck out six in the start for Palm Beach.
Ryan Demmin turned in seven quality innings for Clearwater. He allowed one run on six hits and punched out five. Guth (1-3) was charged with the loss and a blown save.
Washington notched three hits for the Birds, and Tilson and Ildemaro Vargas each chipped in a pair of knocks to lead the offense.
Palm Beach and Clearwater will play game two of the four-game series on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. RH Silfredo Garcia (2-1) will start for the Birds against LH Ethan Stewart (2-6, 4.91) for the Sharks. The game will be broadcast live on www.PalmBeachCardinals.com.