Threshers fall in franchise-record 23 innings

By Adrian Martinez / Clearwater Threshers | May 23, 2011 9:33 PM

JUPITER, Fla. - The Clearwater Threshers (28-17) fell 2-1 to the Jupiter Hammerheads (23-22) in a franchise-record 23 innings on Monday night at Roger Dean Stadium. The two teams combined for just three runs on 31 hits as the game took five hours and 27 minutes to complete.

The Threshers scored their only run of the ballgame in the third inning when Jiwan James hit a double to right, followed by another two-base hit by Brian Gump.

Jupiter evened the contest in the sixth as Dallas Poulk drove home catcher Miguel Fermin on an RBI single. It would be Poulk's only hit of the game in nine at-bats.

The game went scoreless for 16 more innings as neither team could capitalize on opportunities. Clearwater went just 3-for-24 with runners in scoring position and had the go ahead run in scoring position during the last four innings.

The marathon finally came to an end in the bottom of the 23rd when Jaime Ortiz led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Jose Duarte then dropped a single to right field and Ortiz scored just ahead of the throw for the winning run.

Each team used eight pitchers in the ballgame with the Threshers resorting to two position players. Joe Savery worked two scoreless innings in the 19th and 20th, marking his first return to the mound since Sept. 3, 2010 when he was a pitcher for Class AAA Lehigh Valley. First baseman Darin Ruf followed with two more shutout innings in his professional pitching debut.

Clearwater manager Dusty Wathan turned the game over to closer Justin Friend (0-1), the MiLB-leader in saves with 16, in the 23rd inning and he could only record one out in the effort. It was his first decision of the season.

Alejandro Ramos (1-1) hurled a scoreless 23rd inning and was the beneficiary of the victory.

Overshadowed in the contest was the effort by Clearwater starter Brody Colvin who turned in his longest outing of the season, tossing six complete innings. He allowed just one run on four hits and struck out three while allowing no walks.

Despite allowing the two runs in the game, Clearwater's team ERA went from 3.00 to 2.88, trailing only Daytona (2.86) for the lowest in the Florida State League. Catchers for both Jupiter and Clearwater caught complete games as well.

The 23 innings are the longest since the Threshers began playing in 2004. The previous record was 20 innings, occurring during the 2007 and 2006 seasons.

Clearwater was able to tally a season high in hits with 17, but also struck out a season-high 20 times. James led the team with a 3-for-8 performance, falling a homerun shy of the cycle.

The two teams are back in action on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Jupiter for game three of the series. Both teams will play once more on Wednesday before Clearwater heads to Fort Myers for another four-game trip.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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