Fire Frogs Hang Tough, Fall Short In Opener Against Cardinals

Acuna keeps on-base streak alive in game one

(Tim Holle)

By Thaddeus Krzus / Florida Fire Frogs | May 1, 2017 9:32 PM

JUPITER, Fla. (May 1, 2017) - The Florida Fire Frogs battled against the Palm Beach Cardinals on Monday night at Roger Dean Stadium, but fell just short of completing a comeback in an 8-6 defeat. The loss hands Florida its second three-game losing streak of the season.

Palm Beach (14-10) attacked Touki Toussaint in the opening inning, as Magnerius Sierra sent the first pitch from the right-hander into the gap in right-center for a leadoff triple. Blake Drake lifted a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Sierra and put the Fire Frogs in an early, 1-0 deficit.

Florida (10-15) took advantage of a wild Jake Woodford in the second to knot the game at one apiece.

Alex Jackson (1x4, R) and Austin Riley (2x4, R, RBI) singled to center to start things out, with Braxton Davidson (1x4, R, HR, 2 RBI) bouncing into a double play up the middle to move Jackson to third. Woodford uncorked a wild pitch to Carlos Castro (2x4, R), allowing the runner from third to race home for the Fire Frogs' first run of the game.

The Cardinals got the run back on an RBI single off the bat of Jose Godoy. Danny Diekroeger drew a free pass to start the inning and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Edmundo Sosa. Darren Seferina struck out for the second out in front of Godoy's run-scoring knock.

The home team tacked on two insurance runs in the fourth with Diekroeger reaching on a single up the middle and scoring on a triple to center by Sosa to put Florida in a two-run hole. Seferina grounded out for the first out, but Godoy brought home his second run of the game with a blooper over the head of Alejandro Salazar, scoring Sosa from third for the 4-1 lead over the Fire Frogs.

Toussaint went back out for the fifth, but could not work through the frame. The Coral Gables, Fla. native exited the game after hitting Casey Turgeon to put runners on first and second with one out.

Taylor Lewis (0-1) came out of the bullpen with the inherited runners, but could not keep the Cardinals off the board. Chris Chinea greeted the reliever with a run-scoring single to right field to score Sierra from second and move Turgeon to third. Diekroeger followed with a sacrifice fly to right to put Florida behind by five heading to the sixth.

The Fire Frogs benefitted from defensive miscues by the opposition in the sixth, as the visitors scored five times to tie the game at six.

Ray-Patrick Didder (2x5, R, RBI) reached on an error by Sosa at short to start the frame, and moved to third on Jonathan Morales' (1x5, R) single to center, and scored on an error by Sierra with Morales advancing to second.

Ronald Acuna (0x3, BB) went down on strikes for the first out of the inning and Jackson hit a grounder back to the mound, moving Morales to third on the ground out.

The line took off from there for the Fire Frogs, as Riley drilled a single through the hole on the right side to pull Florida within three. Davidson then blasted a two-run shot over the wall in right to make it a 6-5 game.

Castro singled to left and Alay Lago (2x4) reached on an error by Diekroeger at third, ending the night for Jake Woodford.

Steven De La Cruz (1-0) walked Salazar to load the bases as the lineup turned back over for Florida, leading to Didder's game-tying single to left.

Woodford has allowed 14 runs this season for the Cardinals, with 13 of those tallies surrendered against the Fire Frogs. The 20-year-old starter allowed six runs on Monday night, but only one was earned, on 10 hits and four strikeouts.

Lewis could not keep the game locked as six, as the native of Claxton, Ga. gave up a one-out double to Godoy and walked Thomas Spitz in front of Sierra's two-run triple to put the Fire Frogs back down by two.

Devan Watts struck out the side in his first inning of work in the seventh and gave up a single in the eighth, but did not allow a run to cross in his two innings of work to keep the Fire Frogs within striking distance.

Salazar (1x3, 2B, BB), Didder and Morales went down in order in the ninth to close out the game as Ian McKinney (SV, 2) picked up his second save of the season against Florida.

Acuna's 10-game hitting streak came to an end on Monday night, but the 19-year-old's on-base streak was extended to 11 games with a leadoff walk in the seventh.

The Fire Frogs will look to tie up the four-game series against the Cardinals in game two on Tuesday night at Roger Dean Stadium. LHP Luiz Gohara (2-0, 1.73) will try to play "stopper" for Florida against Palm Beach's RHP Junior Fernandez (1-0, 3.33). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Florida returns to Osceola County Stadium on Friday, May 5 for game one of a three-game series against the Clearwater Threshers. The first night of that series will be Cinco de Mayo, where fans can join the Fire Frogs in celebrating the Mexican-American heritage in baseball and the Central Florida community. May 5 will also be First Pitch Happy Hour at the ballpark, featuring $2 domestic drafts, $1 fountain drinks, or a $3 run drink! Happy Hour lasts from doors opening until first pitch. The series opener will feature a fireworks display at the end of the matchup.

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.

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