LAKELAND, Fla. (May 12, 2017) - The Florida Fire Frogs had no answer for Matt Hall (3-3) on Friday night, as the visitors fell to the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 5-1 at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. The defeat forces the fourth rubber match in the last four three-game series for the Fire Frogs.
Florida (18-18) started the scoring on Friday, as Anfernee Seymour (2x4, R, 2B) doubled to left to start the game and scored two batters later on Alex Jackson's (2x4, 2 2B, RBI) first double of the contest. The 21-year-old has doubled in each of his last five games, collecting seven along the way.
The lead would be short lived, as Lakeland (17-19) tallied two in the home half of the frame against Touki Toussaint (1-4) to take the lead.
Toussaint walked Ross Kivett to start the inning, and the leadoff man stole second with Joey Pankake at the plate. Pankake grounded out up the middle to short, allowing Kivett to move to third. Luis Valdes drove the run home with a single to right to tie the game at one.
Wade Hinkle kept the line moving with a base knock to right, advancing Valdes to third. With Zac Shepherd at the plate, Toussaint unleased a wild pitch, allowing Valdes to trot home for the go-ahead run.
The Fire Frogs' starter walked Shepherd, but settled in after that. The 20-year-old struck out Will Allen and retired Jose Azocar on a grounder to third to limit the damage. The right-handed then set down the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings.
After getting Perez to pop out in foul territory to start the fifth, the native of Coral Gables, Fla.'s string of 12 consecutive batters retired came to an end with a walk to Dustin Frailey. The runner swiped second and scored on an RBI single by Kivett to put Florida in a 3-1 hole.
Toussaint left after five innings, with three runs allowed on three hits, three walks and five strikeouts. The 6'3" hurler has lost his last four decisions.
Jacob Webb came in to relieve the starter, but struggled with command in the sixth inning. The right-hander walked the first three men he faced to load the bases with nobody out before setting down Azocar on a fielder's choice.
With the bags still full, Perez singled off the reliever to push the deficit to three, and Frailey was hit by a pitch to force in the fifth run of the game for Lakeland.
Taylor Lewis tossed the final two frames, and allowed a hit and struck out a man, but issued three walks.
The Fire Frogs pitching staff tied a team record on Friday night, as the combination of Toussaint, Webb and Lewis dealt out nine free passes to the Flying Tigers.
Hall limited the Florida offense to just one run on four hits and a walk, while picking up six strikeouts across seven innings in the win.
Florida goes for the series victory the rubber match of the three-game set against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Saturday night at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. RHP Enderson Franco (0-0, 3.18) takes the mound for the Fire Frogs in game three, while 2015 first-round draft pick RHP Beau Burrows (3-1, 1.16) toes the rubber for the Flying Tigers. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m., with coverage starting at 5:45 a.m. on the Florida Fire Frogs Broadcasting Network.
The Florida Fire Frogs return to Osceola County Stadium on Monday, May 15 to take on the Tampa Yankees. The first game of the four-game series is Margarita Monday in Kissimmee, where fans can enjoy $3 margaritas and $2 empanadas. The series opener will also be Service Industry Night, where members of the service industry can purchase tickets at the gate for a discounted rate.
About the Florida Fire Frogs
The Florida Fire Frogs are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and compete in the Florida State League. The Fire Frogs play their home games at Osceola County Stadium, located at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. For more information, please visit www.FloridaFireFrogs.com, and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.