LAKEWOOD, NJ - The Delmarva Shorebirds were unable to cash in on several offensive opportunities, falling 3-1 to the Lakewood BlueClaws on Saturday afternoon at FirstEnergy Park.
Damon Jones (1-1) picked up the win for the BlueClaws (5-5), allowing an unearned run on four hits in five innings while walking three and striking out four. Brenan Hanifee (1-1) was tagged with a tough loss in another quality start for the Shorebirds (8-2), allowing two runs on seven hits in six frames. Addison Russ earned his first save of the year with a spotless ninth.
Delmarva scraped together its only run in the top of the first inning. Kirvin Moesquit reached on an error to lead off the game, then T.J. Nichting laced a double down the right field line to put men on second and third with nobody out. Will Robertson hit a grounder to third that allowed Moesquit to score and put the Shorebirds up 1-0.
That single run is all the Shorebirds would get, though, as they batted just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position on the day. Jones got Ben Breazeale to ground out to first, and Trevor Craport lofted out to right to end the initial scoring threat.
Lakewood drew even in the next half inning when Jake Scheiner took Hanifee deep to left for a solo home run. The long ball again bit Hanifee in the fifth as Josh Stephen slashed a line drive opposite field shot to left, putting the BlueClaws up 2-1.
The BlueClaws tacked on one more in the bottom of the seventh. Stephen doubled to dead center, then Dalton Guthrie scooted a groundball underneath the glove of reliever Travis Seabrooke. Moesquit cut it off in front of the second base bag but threw wildly to first, and the ball sailed and bounced off the dugout railing. Stephen came in to score on the error to make it 3-1.
The Shorebirds' last best chance to score came in the top half of the seventh as they loaded the bases with one out. Reliever Randy Alcantara tiptoed out of trouble, though, getting Robertson to ground into a force at the plate and Breazeale on a force at second.
Alcantara pitched two scoreless out of the pen for his first hold. Luis Ramirez went through the 'Birds in order in the eighth for a hold of his own, and Russ picked up the save with a perfect ninth.
Nichting went 2-for-4 with a double for the Shorebirds, while Robertson finished 1-for-3 with a double and the team's only RBI.
Stephen finished 2-for-3 with a double, homer, and two runs scored to lead the BlueClaws. Nick Maton went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
The Shorebirds will try for a series split on Sunday afternoon. Lefty Zac Lowther (1-0, 0.00) follows up his 13-strikeout hitless start against Hickory this week against Lakewood right-hander Connor Brogdon (0-1, 33.75). 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.