The first Sunday game of the season presented a wild one filled with sloppy play, rain, and a late inning rally.
Sean Gaunther's team debut didn't start off on the right track. In the first two innings, three errors were committed, leading to three unearned runs on just two hits. The lefty would toss a clean 3rd and 4th inning before trouble knocked on the door in the 5th. A solo shot and a three run home run were hit to extend the Cardinals lead to 7-0. After 5 innings of work, Gaunther's day would be over.
However, the Hammerheads bats came to life in the bottom half of the 5th inning, scoring four runs. Corey Bird (2 for 5, RBI) ripped a single to right, scoring John Silviano. The next batter, Brian Miller (4 for 5, RBI) beat out an infield hit, and in came another run to make it 7-2. Joe Dunand hit what should have been an inning ending 5-3 putout, but instead the play led to two errors committed by Palm Beach and two more runs across for Jupiter to cut the deficit to three runs.
In the 6th, the Hammerheads were able to plate another run on a Luis Pintor sacrifice fly, scoring Riley Mahan to cut the Palm Beach lead to 7-5.
With five consecutive runs scored, the Hammerheads had momentum on their side heading into the bottom half of the 9th.
With one out, back-to-back hits, a double by Bird and a single by Miller, positioned the Hammerheads right where they wanted themselves. Following a Dunand walk, Mother Nature decided to take front stage. As sheets of rain began to fall from the skies, Will Allen was HBP with the bases loaded, bringing in another run and the game winning baserunner 180 feet away.
A rain delay paused the game for 50 minutes before play resumed. On the first pitch, Stone Garrett was HBP to walk-in the game tying run to knot things up, 7-7.
The stage was set for a walk-off. On a full count, Mahan (2 for 4, RBI) showed great vision by laying off a high fastball for ball four. Joe Dunand jogged in with a grin as teammates met him at home plate.
The Hammerheads (2-2) will take a win anyway it comes and use it as fuel as they travel to Lakeland and Dunedin for seven games.
Gaunther's final stat line: 5 IP I 7 R I 4 ER I 1 K
Jupiter returns to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium April 17th, to play the Lakeland Flying Tigers. First pitch set for 6:30pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.