CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers were swept in the doubleheader to the Florida Fire Frogs on Saturday night at Spectrum Field. Clearwater dropped game one, 5-2, before falling in game two, 3-0. Despite the losses, the Threshers remain three games back of first place in the Florida State League North division behind the Dunedin Blue Jays.
The Fire Frogs (32-59, 7-18) struck first in game one in the second against Alejandro Requena (6-7), who allowed a solo shot to Drew Lugbauer to put Florida ahead 1-0. Requena allowed a single in the third before retiring nine in a throw with six consecutive strikeouts.
Requena finished with five innings and four earned runs with just two walks and eight strikeouts. The 22-year-old has struck out eight in back to back starts despite taking losses in both.
The Clearwater (50-42, 14-12) offense struggled for most of the day, but evened the score in the fourth after the bases were loaded by lefty Philip Pfeifer (2-6). With Rodolfo Duran at third, Luke Miller lifted a sacrifice fly to right to plate Duran and tie the game at one.
It was the sixth inning that hurt the Threshers in game one. Requena battled command issues and allowed a pair of walks and two singles to give Florida a 2-1 lead. Trey Harris plated the go-ahead run on a slow chopper up the middle that scored Riley Delgado. Another run came across when a wild pitch from Requena scored Alexander and gave Florida a 3-1 lead. The right-hander exited after issuing another walk and Austin Ross entered. Ross loaded the bases again, but induced a ground ball from Logan Brown to first that plated one run. Nick Maton threw to first to try and finish a double play, but his throw sailed high and second run scored to make it 5-1.
Pfeifer retired the side in order in the sixth after getting the lead and pushed the Threshers' offense to its final three outs. With two away in the seventh, Dalton Guthrie lifted a fly ball to left that just carried into the bullpen for a solo round-tripper, his third of the year. Guthrie's home run was the only offense Clearwater would muster in the frame, as Pfeifer ended the game with a popup of Vierling to finish off the win for Florida.
The Fire Frogs continued to put pressure on the Clearwater offense in game two. Colton Eastman (4-5) worked three scoreless frames before Florida broke through in the fourth. With two away, Lugbauer doubled to right and Kevin Josephina brought him home with a single to put the visitors ahead 1-0. Josephina later scored on a wild pitch and Florida built a 2-0 edge.
The lead was enough for Tristan Beck (2-1), who kept Clearwater off balance through 6.2 shutout frames while allowing six hits and punching out eight.
Eastman surrendered just one more run after his tough fourth on Zack Soria's RBI double in the sixth. Florida scored three against Eastman but managed just four hits and struck out four.
Clearwater's offense, who had been searching for baserunners, managed to fight against Brandon White after Beck's exit. With two down in the seventh, Madison Stokes and Jack Conley reached to put runners at the corners. Matt Kroon was then hit by a pitch to bring up Danny Mayer with the bases loaded. White struggled with command, but got Mayer to pop up to first and pick up the save, the fourth for the right-hander.
With the losses, the Threshers have lost three in a row at home and fall to 22-25 at Spectrum Field. Despite the doubleheader sweep the Threshers have hit a home run in eight straight days. The offense has slugged 31 long-balls at Spectrum Field this year.
Clearwater looks to avoid the series sweep with Florida at Spectrum Field on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the three-game set. RHP Spencer Howard (1-1 1.88) toes the rubber for the Threshers against Fire Frogs' RHP Hayden Deal (3-8 2.91). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. with coverage beginning at 12:45 p.m. at threshersbaseball.com.
Sunday Brunch at the Ballpark makes its return to Spectrum Field. A $17 presale ($21 walk-up) brunch ticket includes a club level seat for the game and a buffet of eggs, breakfast meats, a carving station, juice, coffee and more from 12 p.m.-2 p.m. All ticket options are available on Sundays.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.