PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -Simon Muzziotti attributed three of the Clearwater Threshers' six hits during Saturday's 5-0 loss to the Charlotte Stone Crabs at Charlotte Sports Park. The loss paired with the Lakeland Flying Tigers falling to the Tampa Tarpons ensures the Threshers remain tied for the Wild Card spot entering play on Sunday.
Jack Perkins (0-4) retired the first four batters he faced on the night, but ran into trouble in the third. The starter gave up a single to Michael Smith with one out in the inning, and followed that with an RBI triple off the bat off Izzy Wilson to put Clearwater (64-67, 28-37) in a 1-0 hole.
The right-hander then saw Zach Rutherford roll a single into center to bring across Wilson to extend the deficit to 2-0.
The Threshers had scoring opportunities throughout the night, but finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Simon Muzziotti picked up his first hit of the contest with a one-out single in the first, and made it to second on an errant pickoff throw. However, Raul Rivas and Luke Miller were retired by Tobias Myers (8-1) to leave the man stranded.
Ben Aklinski reached second on an errant throw by Kaleo Johnson to start the third, but a failed sacrifice bunt by Dalton Guthrie found the Threshers with a man at first and one out for the top of the lineup.
Muzziotti pushed Guthrie up to second with a knock to center, but Rivas flew out to leave two runners on base.
The road team loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Guthrie grounded out to third to leave the maximum. Clearwater had runners at second and third in the eighth, but Matt Kroon grounded out to end the inning.
Muzziotti finished the night with his 10th three-hit performance of the season. The 20-year-old has picked up eight hits over his last five games.
Keylan Killgore surrendered a three-run home run to Kaleo Johnson in the bottom half of the frame to bring the night to its final tally.
Ryan Sherriff (SV, 1) picked up the save for Charlotte (79-51, 44-20), who clinched the South Division in the second half with the St. Lucie Mets losing to the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Tampa Bay Rays affiliate will square off with the defending champion Fort Myers Miracle in the first round of the Florida State League Playoffs.
The Threshers look to salvage the series in the finale of the three-game set at Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday afternoon. LHP Ethan Lindow (0-1, 0.82) attempts to play the role of "stopper" for Clearwater against Charlotte's LHP Michael Plassmeyer (6-2, 2.23). First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., with coverage beginning at 12:15 p.m. with Threshers Live! The Pregame Show.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.