CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers' offense built off a strong performance last night with 14 hits in their 5-3 victory over the Lakeland Flying Tigers at Spectrum Field on Tuesday night. The win puts the Philadelphia Phillies' affiliate in a tie with the Daytona Tortugas for the Wild Card spot in the Florida State League North division.
The bats got things going in the second after starter Alejandro Requena (9-10) set the tone with two scoreless frames. Rafael Marchan led off the bottom of the second with a ground-rule double to left to put a runner in scoring position. After right-hander Paul Richan (2-2) got the first out, Daniel Brito smacked a two-strike double to right to score Marchan and put Clearwater (66-68, 30-38) ahead 1-0.
Dalton Guthrie followed with a double to left to plate Brito and extend the lead to 2-0. After Guthrie reached third on an error, Raul Rivas put the final run of the frame across with a two-out infield hit to give the Threshers a 3-0 edge.
Requena worked a scoreless third, but ran into trouble against Lakeland (65-68, 36-32) in the fourth. Brady Policelli was hit by a pitch to start the frame and moved to second on a single from Bryant Packard. The Ulrich Bojarski grounded back to Requena and the pitcher forced out Policelli at third. Rivas tried to turn a double play, but his throw to first sailed high and moved Packard to third and Bojarski to second.
John Valente followed with a single to right that scored Packard and cut Clearwater's lead to 3-1. Nick Ames on the next pitch of the frame lifted a fly ball to center that allowed Bojarski to score and had Lakeland trailing 3-2 after four.
The Clearwater starter bounced back with a clean fifth and exited for Austin Ross in the sixth. Requena finished with five frames of work with two runs allowed and no walks. The 22-year-old earned back-to-back victories for the first time since June 3-10.
Ross backed up the strong pitching with two shutdown frames with a hit allowed and a strikeout and paved the way for the offense in the seventh.
Guthrie and Muzziotti opened the seventh with singles against Richan to put runners on first and third. Richan's night was finished after the men reached base, and Jason Foley entered to try and clean things up for Lakeland.
After forcing out Guthrie on a Rivas ground ball, a wild pitch to Jhailyn Ortiz pushed the runners to second and third. Another wild offering from Foley scored Muzziotti and put Clearwater ahead 4-2. Ortiz followed with final Thresher run with a single to right to open a 5-2 lead.
Lakeland threatened to answer in the eighth against Tyler Carr (SV, 5). Brock Deatherage and A.J. Simcox singled to start the frame against the right-hander. With Deatherage at third, a wild pitch from Carr allowed the outfielder to score to cut the lead to 5-3. Carr bounced back by getting a Packard double play and a strikeout of Bojarski to finish out the threat.
The right-hander entered in the ninth and allowed just one hit to lock down the save for the Phillies' affiliate. Carr has earned his fifth saves in six tries in 2019. The pitching staff carries a 2.91 ERA against the Detroit Tigers' affiliate in 2019.
Offensively, the Threshers have scored 10 runs over the first two games of the four-game series with Lakeland after failing to score a single run in three games against Charlotte over the weekend. Clearwater has outhit the Flying Tigers 20-13 through the two contests.
The Threshers aim for the series victory in game three of the four-game set at Spectrum Field on Wednesday night. RHP James McArthur (2-1 3.57) toes the rubber for Clearwater against Lakeland RHP Elvin Rodriguez (11-8 3.67). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. with coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m. on Threshers Live! The Pregame Show at threshersbaseball.com.
Wednesday's contest is the final Silver Sharks club day at Spectrum Field presented by Belcher Bingo. Designed for fans age 55+ membership includes admission to and parking for all Wednesday home games, plus gifts and a membership card. Club membership is $25 per senior per season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.