Brian Burgamy hit an RBI single and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning Friday as the Clearwater Threshers edged the Sarasota Reds, 4-3, to earn a spot in the Florida State League Championship Series.
With the Threshers trailing, 3-2, Clay Harris led off the seventh with a single and advanced on P.J. Antoniato's groundout. With two outs, Burgamy ripped a hanging split-finger fastball from Sean Watson (0-1) into right field to knot the score.
"I went into that at-bat looking for a fastball," said Burgamy, who was 2-for-5 with a double. "He missed away with a first-pitch fastball and came in with the splitter, which stayed up and gave me a chance to make good contact."
The 26-year-old center fielder stole second and, after a walk to Brad Harman, Watson plunked Jason Donald to load the bases. Jeremy Slayden followed with a four-pitch walk to force home Burgamy.
"We've got a bunch of battlers on this team," said Burgamy. "Even in the fifth inning when we were down, we knew there was a lot of game left and the chatter in the dugout reflected that. Everybody kept saying we just needed to string a few hits and baserunners together."
Three Clearwater relievers combined to allow one hit and a walk in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. J.J. Trujillo (1-0) fanned two over 1 1/3 frames and Ronald Hill added a pair of strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. Robert Swindle got the final two outs to pick up his first save of the series.
"Our pitchers have been throwing really well," added Burgamy. "When I crossed the plate, I felt positive about our chances to win the game because of how well our bullpen has pitched. It feels like they just keep putting up zero after zero."
Jake Blalock stroked a two-run double in the fourth and Clay Harris went 2-for-3 for The Threshers, who will play at Brevard County on Saturday night in Game 1 of the best-of-5 FSL Championship Series.
Cody Strait walked and scored in the first after Harman misplayed Tonys Gutierrez's bouncer to second base. Eric Eymann smacked an RBI double in the fourth for the Reds.
Sarasota starter Alexander Smit surrendered two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 4 2/3 frames.