LAKELAND, Fla. - The Threshers dropped the lone, rain-soaked game of the series at Lakeland, 3-1 in five innings at Publix Field on Sunday afternoon.
After rain forced the cancellation of game one of the series, Clearwater and Lakeland squeezed in less than five innings of baseball on Sunday before that game was also halted, and the series finale was cancelled.
Clearwater (65-66, 27-34) now stands three games back of the Dunedin Blue Jays for the second playoff spot, pending the outcome of Dunedin's Sunday night game against Tampa. The Threshers have seven games remaining on the regular-season slate.
Following rainouts in each of the first two days of the series, weather delayed the start of Sunday's doubleheader for over an hour and a half before game one got underway at 1:35 p.m.
Lakeland (58-63, 28-27) grabbed the early advantage with an unearned run off Sixto Sanchez in the first. A leadoff error on shortstop Jose Gomez allowed Derek Hill to reach.
Hill stole second, and advanced to third on a passed ball. Sanchez (0-3) got Jake Robson to pop one up toward short that was lost in the sky and settled in for a single, scoring Hill to plate the game's first run.
Clearwater had a chance in the fourth after Wilson Garcia opened the frame with a deep double to center, and Edgar Cabral drew a walk. Gregory Soto induced back-to-back strikeouts of Austin Bossart and Grenny Cumana before falling behind Carlos Duran 3-0.
Duran pulled a grounder toward short, but the ball kicked off the heel of Sergio Alcantara's glove for an error to load the bases. Emmanuel Marrero put down a bunt, but Soto fielded and tossed home to get the force on Garcia and end the inning.
The Threshers again put the first two on in the fourth, after Mark Laird beat out an infield hit and Gomez dropped down a bunt single. Soto struck out Cornelius Randolph, before the Flying Tigers went to the bullpen.
Garcia greeted reliever Jeff Thompson (4-2) with a hard single to right to load the bases, and Cabral belted a deep drive to the track in right for a sacrifice fly, scoring Laird to tie the game at one.
Lakeland quickly regained the advantage in the bottom half.
With the rain coming down, Hill walked and Robson drove a triple to the warning track in center to put the Flying Tigers back on top. Sanchez got Shane Cooper to fly out to right, but with the runner initially holding at third, Duran's throw in from right sailed over Cabral allowing Robson to score and make it 3-1.
After a two-out walk to Will Allen, the rain intensified and the umpires again signaled for the tarp. After another 45-minute delay, the contest was officially called and game three was cancelled.
The Threshers will head down to Port Charlotte to battle the Stone Crabs for three games, beginning on Monday at 6:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.