LAKEWOOD, NJ - The Delmarva Shorebirds couldn't overcome the vaunted Lakewood BlueClaws bullpen, falling 5-4 on Sunday night at FirstEnergy Park.
Damon Jones (10-7) got to double digit wins for the BlueClaws (46-22, 87-50), allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits over five innings, walking two and striking out six. Brandon Bonilla (0-4) took the loss for the Shorebirds (32-34, 67-66), giving up five runs (one earned) on six hits over a season-long five innings while walking three and fanning five. Connor Brogdon pitched two scoreless innings for his fifth hold, and Zach Warren nailed down his 15th save with a scoreless eighth and ninth, punching out five along the way.
The BlueClaws took control of the game in the bottom of the second. Colby Fitch worked a one-out walk, and Madison Stokes reached on an error at short. After a lineout, Jose Antequera poked a single to center, scoring Fitch to break the ice. Matt Vierling followed with a two-run single, putting Lakewood in front 3-0.
Rodolfo Duran legged out an infield single with one out in the third and eventually scored on a Stokes two-out base hit to make it 4-0. The Shorebirds answered in the top of the fourth as Zach Jarrett reached on an error and scored on a Trevor Craport RBI double to right center, cutting the deficit to 4-1. Lakewood made that run up in the home fourth on a walk, single-and-error, and Jake Scheiner sac fly, pushing the lead back to 5-1.
The Shorebirds' breakthrough came in the top of the fifth. Seamus Curran rolled one over to first that Stokes couldn't handle, and Kirvin Moesquit followed with a double to put men on second and third. Mason McCoy bounced an infield single over the mound and to second base, scoring Curran to make it 5-2. Cadyn Grenier followed with a run-scoring hit of his own to bring in Moesquit. After a fielder's choice at second, Craport slashed a line drive into left for a sac fly, plating McCoy to make it a one-run Lakewood lead at 5-4.
Delmarva could have had more in the fifth as Jean Carlos Encarnacion and Jean Carrillo worked two-out walks off Jones, but Will Robertson struck out to end the threat.
From there the BlueClaw bullpen proved unsolvable. Brogdon's only real trouble came when Encarnacion doubled with two out in the seventh; he got Carrillo to pop out to first to end that threat. Moesquit and McCoy coaxed back-to-back two-out walks off Warren in the eighth, but Warren got Grenier chasing at a curve in the dirt to strike out. Jarrett's leadoff single in the ninth went for naught at Warren fanned three in a row to bring it home.
McCoy finished 3-for-4 with a walk, run, and RBI for the Shorebirds, while Craport went 1-for-4 with a double, sac fly, and two RBIs. Jarrett notched his 40th multi-hit game of the season, going 2-for-5 with a run.
Antequera proved to be a sparkplug from the nine-hole for the BlueClaws, going 2-for-3 with a double, two runs, and an RBI.
The Shorebirds put a bow on 2018 with their final regular season game on Monday afternoon. Cameron Ming (2-2, 4.39) will take the bump for Delmarva against Kyle Young (3-3, 2.98) for Lakewood. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 12:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.