PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Charlotte Stone Crabs claimed their third win in their last four games as starter Jeremy Hall earned his league-leading ninth win in a 5-2 victory over the Sarasota Reds on Sunday evening at Charlotte Sports Park.
Hall (9-4) took sole possession of the FSL lead in wins with another strong performance that included six strikeouts in seven innings while allowing just two runs (one earned). The outing was his fourth quality start of the season and his fourth win in his last five starts.
The Stone Crabs (4-6) offense sputtered through the first five frames before backing Hall's strong performance with a two rallies in the sixth and seventh innings. Henry Wrigley stayed hot with a 1-for-3 night with two runs scored an an RBI, and Shawn O'Malley reached in all five plate appearances and stole his 30th base of the season.
Hall got into trouble in the top of the third inning when he gave up consecutive singles to Jose Gualdron and Justin Tordi and then watched a groundball go under the glove of first baseman Cody Cipriano that allowed Gualdron to cross the plate for the first run of the game. Tordi then tried to score on a wild pitch from Hall, but Stone Crabs catcher Christian Lopez scrambled to the backstop and threw a laser back to Hall who applied the tag to keep the damage to one run.
After two infield singles through the first four innings, Charlotte finally managed to land a ball in the outfield when Matt Hall lined a single to center field with one out. The Stone Crabs then loaded the bases with just one out, but Emeel Salem grounded out to the pitcher and Cody Cipriano flew out to the warning track to end the inning.
Sarasota (4-6) added another run in the top of the sixth inning when Denis Phipps knocked a fly ball that was nearly caught by Crabs right fielder Ryan Royster, but his diving attempt was not enough as the ball rolled out of his glove and Phipps landed at second with a double. He then scored on a single from Neftali Soto in the next at bat to give the Reds a two run lead.
The Stone Crabs finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning with a pair of runs to even the score. Henry Wrigley led off with a walk, moved to third on a double from John Matulia to right-center field and then scored on a groundout from Lopez to second base. Omar Luna then stepped to the plate and knocked a grounder to shortstop that looked to be the end of the inning, but Tordi bobbled the ball and Matulia scored on the miscue.
Charlotte then took the lead in the next frame when Salem redeemed his earlier bases loaded bust with a double down the right field line to score O'Malley from third base. Wrigley added a double to score Salem and then scored on a single from Matulia.
Matt Gorgen picked up his 11th save of the season after pitching the final two innings for the Stone Crabs. He struck out two batters and lowered his ERA to 0.65 on the season.
The teams continue the series tomorrow at Charlotte Sports Park with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Righty Alex Cobb (4-4, 3.30) will man the bump for the Stone Crabs against fellow righty Luis Montano (5-8, 5.31) for the Reds.
Tomorrow marks another Dollar Dog Night presented by Red Hot Chicago where ballpark hot dogs are just $1 throughout the entire game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.