BRADENTON, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers comeback efforts fell just short in Tuesday night's 8-6 loss to the Bradenton Marauders at LECOM Park. The defeat sets up a rubber match for the first series of the second half of the 2019 campaign on Wednesday night.
Alejandro Requena (5-4) struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the first, but ran into trouble in the opening frame. The right-hander walked Christ Sharpe and gave up a ground-rule double to Dylan Busby, leading to a two-run error by Alec Bohm at third on a grounder off the bat of Deon Stafford to put Clearwater (37-31, 1-1) in a two-run hole.
The visitor's starter had more issues in the second frame, surrendering five runs on four hits, including a grand slam by Busby.
The Threshers got a run back in the third with an RBI single from Bohm, but Bradenton (37-31, 1-1) grabbed the tally back with an RBI fielder's choice from Raul Hernandez.
The road team fought back with a solo home run from Jhailyn Ortiz to lead-off the fourth and a sacrifice fly by Daniel Brito in the fifth to pull within 8-3, but could not scratch across any more runs against Brad Case (1-0).
The Marauders' starter lasted seven stanzas in his second start at the Advanced A level, allowing three runs - two earned - on six hits and five strikeouts in his first win with Bradenton.
Clearwater inched closes with a three-run eighth. Brito welcomed reliever Samuel Reyes with a walk, and scored on Simon Muzziotti's double off the wall in center. Bohm obliterated a 2-2 pitch on top of the awning over the left-field bleachers to make the score 8-6.
Bohm finished the contest with his 14th multi-hit performance in 39 games with the Threshers.
Brito smacked a two-out single in the ninth against Nick Mears (SV, 3) to keep the game alive for Muzziotti, but the All-Star flew out to center to end the night.
Oscar Marcelino and Tyler Carr combined for four scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Threshers, with a walk and four strikeouts between the two relievers.
The Threshers take aim at the series victory in the rubber match against the Marauders on Wednesday night in the finale of the three-game set at LECOM Park to open the second half. RHP Andrew Brown (2-4, 6.61) toes the slab for Clearwater against Bradenton's RHP Aaron Shortridge (3-2, 3.38). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., with coverage beginning at 6:15 p.m. with Threshers Live! The Pre-game Show on threshersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.