LAKELAND, Fla. (May 11, 2017) - The Florida Fire Frogs' offense struck late against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Thursday night, as the visitors used two-run frames in the seventh and eighth innings to come away with a 7-5 victory at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. The win puts Florida above .500 for the first time since the club was 4-3 after an 11-5 loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays on April 12.
With the Fire Frogs trailing 4-3 in the seventh, Anfernee Seymour (2x4, 2 R, BB) hit a sharp liner to center to start the frame against Endrys Briceno (0-1). The speedster reached second on a passed ball to Ray-Patrick Didder (2x4, RBI, BB) to move the tying run into scoring position. Didder finished the at-bat with a grounder to first, advancing Seymour over to third.
Austin Riley (1x4, R, RBI, BB) drew a free pass to put runners on the corners to Alex Jackson (2x4, R, 2B, RBI, BB), and a wild pitch to the slugging catcher scored Seymour for the tying run, as well as shifted Riley up to second. Jackson ripped a 2-2 pitch to the wall in left for the go-ahead RBI. The 21-year-old backstop has collected five doubles in the last four games, and now leads the club with 10 two-baggers.
Florida (18-17) added two insurance runs in the eighth to create a three-run cushion. Jonathan Morales (3x4, R, 2 RBI) socked his third single of the game to left to leadoff the inning, and Alay Lago (0x3) sacrificed the runner over with a bunt to the left side of the infield. After Alejandro Salazar (1x4, R) lined out to center, Seymour worked a four-pitch walk to put runners at first and second for Didder, who stroked a single to center to plate Morales and moved Seymour to third.
Jake Shull attempted a pickoff moved to try and nab Didder at first, but threw it wide of the target, allowing Seymour to score the seventh run of the night for the Fire Frogs.
Lakeland (16-19) had the early lead with solo runs in the second and third. Zac Shepherd doubled to left, scoring Wade Hinkle to put Florida in an early, 1-0 defict. David Gonzalez crossed home in the second for the second run for the Flying Tigers on an errant throw by Riley at third in an attempt to throw out Luis Valdes on a slow roller to the left side of the infield.
The Fire Frogs tied the game in the fourth when Morales cracked a two-run single to left, plating Jackson and Tyler Neslony (1x5, R) to knot the game at two apiece, but the Flying Tigers brought home two more runs in the sixth with RBI singles from Jose Azocar and Arcivent Perez to put Florida in a 4-3 deficit.
Sean McLaughlin (2-0) earned the win for Florida, but also ended up with a blown save. The product of Georgia allowed two runs on three hits and three strikeouts across two innings of work. Chase Johnson-Mullins (SV, 1) picked up his first save of 2017 with a run allowed in the eighth being the only blip on the lefty's line. The native of Ashland, Ky. worked the final two frames, gave up one hit, walked a man and struck out two.
Florida goes for the series victory in game two of three-game set against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Friday night at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. RHP Touki Toussaint (1-3, 8.28) takes the mound for the Fire Frogs in the middle game, 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 6:30 p.m., with coverage starting at 6:15 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.