BRADENTON, Fla. - Simon Muzziotti came out in the second half in All-Star form, as the outfielder delivered three hits and drove home two in the Clearwater Threshers' 7-5 victory over the Bradenton Marauders on Monday night at LECOM Park.
Tommy Hunter made his season debut in a rehab assignment and allowed a solo home run to Cal Mitchell to give Bradenton (0-1, 36-31) the 1-0 advantage in the first. The right-hander did not allow a base runner the rest of the frame, picking up two strikeouts along the way.
Clearwater (1-0, 37-30) put the first two men on against Nicholas Economos (2-3) to start the second inning with a single by Nick Maton and a reach-on-error off the bat of Rodolfo Duran, leading to Daniel Brito's double to right to knot the match at a run apiece.
Muzziotti stepped up and poked a single to center, plating Duran and giving the visitors the 2-1 edge, with Brito being thrown out at the dish. Alec Bohm capped off the inning with a flare single to right, pushing across Muzziotti from second.
With the Threshers still holding a 3-1 lead in the fifth, Jhailyn Ortiz kept the inning alive by working a walk, setting up Madison Stokes' two-run shot out to left to extend the lead to four.
Colton Eastman (4-2) allowed an RBI double to Chase Lambert in the bottom of the fifth, but Duran answered with a solo blast into the left field bleachers to bring the lead back to four.
Eastman earned the win with 5.1 innings of relief of Hunter. The Cal State Fullerton product struck out eight batters, and allowed three runs on six hits and two free passes.
The right-hander walked Lambert with an out in the first, and left the game after a bunt single from Mitchell put two men on base for the Marauders. Austin Ross struck out Travis Swaggerty for the second out of the inning, but issued a walk to Chris Sharpe to keep the inning alive for Dylan Busby's bases-clearing double to the wall in center to trim the lead down to one.
Muzziotti delivered, again, in the ninth with a sharply hit ball to second that caromed off Lambert, allowing Matt Kroon to score.
Keylan Killgore (SV, 7) earned his seventh save in as many chances by getting Busby to ground out to first with two men on base in the ninth.
The Threshers go for the series victory in game two of the three-game set against the Marauders at LECOM Park on Tuesday night. RHP Alejandro Requena (5-3, 4.37) toes the slab for Clearwater against Bradenton's RHP Brad Case (0-0, 6.75). 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.