LAKEWOOD, NJ - The Lakewood BlueClaws erased a 7-3 deficit over the final three innings to beat the Delmarva Shorebirds 8-7 at the gun on Saturday night at FirstEnergy Park.
With the Shorebirds (32-33, 67-65) up 7-3 in the bottom of seventh, Dalton Guthrie tagged a bases-loaded sac fly to right, getting the BlueClaws (45-22, 86-50) a little closer at 7-4. In the eighth, Rodolfo Duran led off with a double, and after Jhailyn Ortiz got hit by a pitch, Nick Maton singled home Duran to make it 7-5. Josh Stephen singled home another run two batters later, and Jose Antequera followed with a run-scoring infield hit to tie the game at 7-7.
In the bottom of the ninth, Duran placed a weak groundball perfectly up the third base line for an infield single. That brought up Ortiz, who drilled a liner to the wall in dead center. Duran scored on Ortiz's walkoff double, and the Shorebirds endured a narrow defeat.
Luis Cedeno (5-3) picked up the win in relief for the BlueClaws with three scoreless innings in relief. Diogenes Almengo (1-2) suffered the loss after giving up four runs on six hits over 1.1 innings out of the bullpen.
Delmarva pounced early in what turned out to be a back-and-forth affair. Mason McCoy and Branden Becker led off the game with back-to-back singles, each moving up a base on a passed ball. Zach Jarrett then rolled a grounder just beyond a diving Maton at short and into center, scoring both runners to make it 2-0 Shorebirds.
Lakewood got one run back in the second on a Stokes sac fly. In the bottom of the fourth, Duran led off with an infield single, and Ortiz doubled to put men on second and third. Maton then rolled one over to second to chase home Duran to tie, and Stokes hit a chopper to third that Becker threw wildly to the plate, allowing Ortiz to cross to put the BlueClaws up 3-2.
Delmarva didn't wait long to tie it again. Kirvin Moesquit led off the fifth with a single and promptly stole second base. Becker looped a single into center two batters later, moving Moesquit to third, and Jarrett laced a line drive to right for a run-scoring base hit, knotting things up at 3-3.
The Shorebirds broke through with a big sixth inning. Cadyn Grenier singled to lead off, and two batters later Ben Breazeale shot a triple down the left field line, bringing Grenier home to give Delmarva another lead. After a groundout, McCoy took one off his body to go to first, and Becker poked a single to chase in Breazeale. Jarrett followed by lashing a two-run double to the right field corner, making it a four-spot in the inning and 7-3 Shorebird lead.
Jhon Peluffo was in line to win the game for Delmarva before the Lakewood comeback, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits over five innings in his final start of the season. Nick Gruener handled a scoreless sixth, but the BlueClaws began their rally off of him in the seventh.
Lakewood's Spencer Howard lasted five innings in his last regular season start, surrendering three runs on 10 hits while walking none and striking out nine.
Jarrett proved to be a wrecking ball at the plate for the Shorebirds, going 3-for-5 with a double and five RBIs, tying his season high. Becker finished 3-for-4 with two runs and one driven in, and Moesquit went 2-for-4 with a run and two stolen bases, giving him a league-best 48 on the year.
Duran sparked things on offense for the BlueClaws, going 4-for-5 with a double and four runs scored. Ortiz finished 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs, and the game-ending RBI.
The Shorebirds play their penultimate game of the season on Sunday night against the BlueClaws. Brandon Bonilla (0-3, 3.57) makes his final start for Delmarva against Lakewood's Damon Jones (9-8, 3.49). First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 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.