CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Threshers came one strike away from a victory on Tuesday night, but the Hammerheads rallied for two runs with two outs in the ninth on their way to handing Clearwater a 5-4 loss in 10 innings at Spectrum Field.
Clearwater (1-5) jumped out to the early lead for the fourth-straight day, plating a pair in the first off of Hammerheads starter Sam Perez.
Kevin Markham got it going with a line drive single toward left-center, and Arquimedes Gamboa brought him home with a double to right. Adam Haseley followed with a single through the right side to put runners at the corners.
Darick Hall grounded into a double play, but that pushed home Gamboa to make it 2-0.
Two innings later, Raul Rivas launched a two-strike offering from Perez over the wall in right for his first home run in nearly three years. Rivas, whose only prior home run had come in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2015, picked up his first RBI for Clearwater to bump the Threshers lead up to 3-0.
Mauricio Llovera kept the Hammerheads off the board through five innings in the start, yielding four hits and three walks in the no-decision. He issued a pair of walks to open the fifth, but induced a pop out of Brian Miller, and battled through a nine-pitch at-bat to strike out Joe Dunand. Riley Mahan then grounded into a force out at second to end the threat.
Jupiter grabbed a run in the sixth inning off reliever Jakob Hernandez, but Clearwater carried a 3-1 lead into the ninth.
Alexis Rivero struck out Miller to open the frame, but Joe Dunand followed with a single, and with two out Will Allen roped a double to left to bring the Hammerheads (4-2) to within one.
John Silviano then struck a single to left to tie the ballgame, scoring Allen to bring the teams even at three apiece.
Clearwater had a chance in the bottom of the ninth, after Jose Pujols and Luke Williams each singled to put the winning run on third with just one out.
Michael Mertz (1-0) managed to work around it. Rivas grounded to third and Pujols was thrown out at the plate, before Kevin Markham grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Jupiter cashed in on the new extra inning rule in the 10th, as Boo Vazquez tripled home the courtesy runner Stone Garrett to push the go-ahead across. Jarrett Rindfleisch followed with what would ultimately be the difference-maker, an RBI single off Jeff Singer (0-1) that scored Vazquez to make it 5-3.
Clearwater brought its own courtesy runner home in the bottom half after a ground out and a wild pitch scored Markham to make it 5-4, but Zech Lemond shut it down to earn his first save.
Game three will take place on Wednesday with a 12 p.m. first pitch, as Connor Seabold takes the hill against Ethan Clark. The game will be broadcast live on threshersbaseball.com starting at 11:45 a.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.