LOWELL, MA - It's only fitting that it would take a gritty and a valiant late effort for the Spinners (9-10) to pull out an extra-innings victory over the Connecticut Tigers (7-12) on the Fourth of July.
Tyler Dearden led off the game with a triple on the first pitch of the evening, his New York-Penn League-leading fifth of the season. Cole Brannen managed to bring him home with a sacrifice fly the following at-bat. Devlin Granberg got on board with a single and was driven in on an RBI-triple from Tyler Esplin to make it 2-0.
Thaddeus Ward made his first start of his professional career. The fifth-round draft pick out of Central Florida went 1.2 innings a trio of strikeouts, a walk, two hits, and an earned run.
Lowell added to its lead in the top of the second. Catcher Alan Marrero led off the inning with a single and moved over to third on a single from Korby Batesole. With Marrero on third, Duran's productive night continued with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
The bullpen protected the tight lead throughout the ball game. Rio Gomez dazzled with six strikeouts in 3.1 innings of relief. Victor Garcia went 1.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts but allowed an earned run to make it a 3-2 ball game.
Duran continued his big night with a leadoff single in the top of the eighth and moved over to third on a Cole Brannen single. With Devlin Granberg at the plate, Brannen drew a run-down while trying to steal second which gave Dearden enough time to swipe home plate to provide an insurance run.
Tanner Raiburn came in to shut the door on the Tigers. Unfortunately the Tigers rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
The Spinners loaded the bases in the top of the 10th, with a man beginning the inning on second due to this year's new ruling in Minor League Baseball, before Devlin Granberg lined the winning hit into left field to put the Spinners ahead 5-4. Later in the inning, Jonathan Ortega added a pair of insurance runs with a two-run single to right to make it 7-4.
Danny Bethea, who converted to pitching full time in 2018 after playing catcher for the last five seasons, got the Spinners out of a huge ninth inning jam and shut down the Tigers in extras to pick up his first professional win.
The quick road trip continues tomorrow with Hunter Haworth taking the ball for Lowell as the Spinners try to pull to .500 on the season. First pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.