PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (August 23, 2019) - The Charlotte Stone Crabs snapped a three-game skid with a 3-0 blanking of the Clearwater Threshers at Charlotte Sports Park Friday, giving themselves a chance to clinch the division title Saturday.
Friday's shutout win gives the Stone Crabs' (78-51, 43-30) a 7.5 game lead in the division with nine games to go. With another win and a St. Lucie loss, Charlotte can clinch the second half title in the FSL South on Saturday.
Stone Crabs starter Tommy Romero (12-4) spun six innings of scoreless baseball, striking out five while allowing just four hits.
Right-hander Alex Valverde went two shutout innings before Simon Rosenblum-Larson struck out the side in the ninth to seal his eighth save.
The Stone Crabs jumped in front in the bottom of the second. After a pair of walks, Joey Roach roped an RBI double into the right field corner to score Niko Hulsizer and give Charlotte a 1-0 lead.
Leading by the same margin in the fifth, Roach led off the inning with a base hit to right. He then advanced to second on a groundout before moving to third on a Jake Palomaki single. With one out and men at the corners, Wander Franco lifted a sacrifice fly to left center to give the Stone Crabs a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Garrett Whitley clobbered a solo homer to left to extend the advantage to 3-0. Whitley becomes the second Stone Crabs player to reach double digits in home runs.
Charlotte will go for the division crown at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Tobias Myers (8-1, 2.26) makes the start for the Stone Crabs, against Jack Perkins (0-3, 6.19) of the Threshers. Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on the Stone Crabs Baseball Network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.