Charlotte starters Moore and Cruz deliver strong outings
August 26, 2010 1:24 PM
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After two straight days of rained out games, the Charlotte Stone Crabs came out ready to play and swept a doubleheader from the Jupiter Hammerheads at Charlotte Sports Park on Thursday night.
The Stone Crabs posted a 4-0 win in game one behind six shutout innings from starter Matt Moore and a three-run home run from Tyler Bortnick and then picked up a 5-4 win in a hotly contested game two with Michael Sheridan delivering the winning run on an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Charlotte started Joe Cruz in the second game, and the righty threw four perfect innings with six strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 2.98 (45er/136ip).
He exited the game after the fourth inning because he was already nearing his maximum innings pitched for the entire season, but Jupiter got no relief as Tampa Bay Rays super prospect Jeremy Hellickson entered the game as a reliever for the first time this season as he transitions to a bullpen role as the Rays make their stretch run towards the playoffs.
Hellickson cruised through his first inning and struck out the side, but he ran into significant trouble in the sixth inning and gave up four runs on a double, three singles and two walks. He threw 41 pitches with 27 for strikes. Marquis Fleming eventually came in to get the last out of the inning, and Hellickson finished with 1 2/3 innings pitched with four runs allowed on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
Charlotte scored earlier in the game with three runs in the bottom of the third inning and added another in the fifth inning with Tim Beckham picking up two RBIs.
The Stone Crabs then bounced back from Hellickson's tough outing with the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Michael Sheridan hit a double to right field that scored Jake Jefferies from second and gave Charlotte the eventual winning run.
Moore (5-11) started game one for the Stone Crabs and tossed six shutout innings. He struck out 10 and and only gave up three hits. He now has 197 strikeouts on the season, which leads the entire Minor Leagues. Since starting his season 0-7 with a 6.63 ERA through his first 11 starts, Moore has dominated with a 1.49 ERA and 123 strikeouts in just 84 1/3 innings over his last 14 starts.
Ryan Royster scored the first run of the first game for the Stone Crabs in the second inning. He stroked a leadoff double to right field and then scored on a throwing error on the next play. Stephen Vogt hit a routine groundball to second base but Danny Pertusati threw wide to first base, and the wild throw allowed Royster to score from second.
Bortnick added the insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning with a three-run homer to left field that scored Royster and Vogt. The longball was his first of the season for the Stone Crabs and ninth overall.
Zach Quate came into the game in the ninth inning and picked up his 23rd save of the season.
The Stone Crabs will start a three-game set with the Bradenton Marauders tomorrow at McKechnie Field. Right-hander Brad Thompson is scheduled to start for Charlotte after his recent promotion from Hudson Valley.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.