PORT CHARLOTTE, FL (July 18, 2014) - In yesterday's doubleheader, the Stone Crabs learned the value of a relaxed atmosphere and a recharged clubhouse en route to taking both games of a doubleheader from the Tigers. That continued on Friday night in front of a crowd of 2,353 at Charlotte Sports. They got a run in the first, and never relinquished the lead in an 8-2 victory that gave Reinaldo Lopez his first victory since June 7.
Johnny Field provided another spark at the top of the order when he reached on a dropped first strike in the first inning against Tigers starter Locke St. John. A Tommy Coyle single and a walk to Leonardo Reginatto loaded the bases for Patrick Leonard, who brought in the game's first run with a sacrifice fly to center field. However, St. John escaped further trouble when he got Justin O'Conner to bounce into an inning-ending double play around the horn.
Reinaldo Lopez got a double play of his own following a leadoff single by Austin Green in the second. Chad Wright's 4-6-3 twin killing sent up Curt Powell, who hit a hard liner to Tyler Goeddel at third for the final out. In the third, a four pitch walk to designated hitter Lance Durham led to another liner to Goeddel, who stabbed Jared Reaves' hot shot before throwing back to first to double up Durham. James Robbins soon flied out to center to retire the side, giving Lopez the minimum number of hitters the first time through the order.
Field bashed St. John's (0-2) second pitch of the third over the wall in left and into the Tigers bullpen for a home run and a 2-0 lead. Reginatto's infield single and Leonard's hard double down the left field line allowed O'Conner to bring in two more with a double into right center. The catcher wad thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple, but the damage had been inflicted and the lead stood at 4-0.
Another sacrifice fly to center by Josh Sale with the bases loaded in the fifth made it 5-0, before the Tigers snapped a stretch of 18 and two thirds innings without a run in the series. With a couple of runners on and two outs in the top of the sixth, Green lined a triple into the right field corner off Lopez (5-4) to get the Tigers on the board at 5-2.
Lakeland's momentum was quickly squashed once the 'Crabs returned for the bottom of the inning against Nate Fury. Singles by Field and Coyle and another sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Reginatto made it 6-2. Later in the inning, Maxx Tissenbaum's third hit of the night was a two-run single into right that gave Charlotte an 8-2 lead. Jose Molina struck out the side in the seventh before Kevin Brandt and Zach Cooper worked scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to give the 'Crabs the series.
The final regular season meeting between the two teams gets underway from Charlotte Sports Park on Saturday night at 6:00 PM. Ryne Stanek (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will make his second official Stone Crabs start against the Tigers Tommy Collier, who will be making his 2014 Tigers debut. The 'Crabs will be celebrating Christmas in July and there will also be a Christmas ornament giveaway! There are still plenty of great seats available, so visit www.stonecrabsbaseball.com or call 941-206-HITS (4487) to order your tickets now!