PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (May 13, 2017) - Four Stone Crabs picked up multiple hits but Charlotte blew a five-run lead to lose Saturday's series finale 8-7 to the Fort Myers Miracle at Charlotte Sports Park.
With the Stone Crabs (18-18) leading 6-1 in the top of the eighth, reliever Jairo Munoz walked the first two Miracle (17-20) batters in his Rays debut. Fort Myers first baseman Chris Paul followed with an infield single to load the bases with nobody out. After getting a popout, Munoz allowed an RBI single to Sean Miller to make the score 6-2.
The Stone Crabs then turned to Brandon Lawson (0-1) with the bases loaded and one out. Lawson hit Rafael Valera to force in a run and make it 6-3. Kevin Garcia followed with a single to left to bring in two runs and cut the Charlotte lead to 6-5.
Still leading by one in the ninth, Lawson induced a ground ball from Max Murphy to start the inning. The ball got past Stone Crabs third baseman Peter Maris , which allowed Murphy to reach. After Murphy was bunted to second, Shane Kennedy tripled to the wall in right center to tie the game at six. Paul then followed with a double to the same spot to give Fort Myers the lead at 7-6.
Charlotte built their initial lead in the middle innings against Miracle starter Dereck Rodriguez. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Brandon Lowe doubled to right before advancing to third on a groundout. Dalton Kelly then flew out to deep left to score Lowe and tie the game at one.
In the fifth, Ryan Brett led off the inning with a solo home run to left to give the Stone Crabs a 2-1 lead. Maris then lined a single to right before Jake Cronenworth sliced a double to the corner to score Maris and make it 3-1. After Cronenworth got to third on a groundout, Rodriguez bounced a pitch to the backstop that allowed Cronenworth to come in and give Charlotte a 4-1 lead.
Still up by that margin in the sixth, Maris doubled to left before Cronenworth pulled a triple to right to make the score 5-1. Two batters later, Lowe flew out to left to score Cronenworth and extend the Stone Crabs lead to 6-1.
Charlotte starter Blake Bivens worked seven innings for the third straight outing, surrendering just one run while striking out six.
The Stone Crabs will have Sunday off before starting a four-game series at Dunedin on Monday at 6:30 p.m. Coverage begins at 6:15 p.m. on the Stone Crabs Baseball Network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.