The Charlotte Stone Crabs (4-4) and Palm Beach Cardinals (5-3) split a doubleheader at Charlotte Sports Park on Saturday night. Charlotte took game one by a final score of 3-0 while Palm Beach took game two, 4-1.
After the first two innings of game one went scoreless, the Stone Crabs got on the board in the bottom half of the third. Jake Cronenworth hit a one-out triple and two batters later, Brett Sullivan slapped a single to right, giving Charlotte a 1-0 advantage.
In the fifth, Sullivan struck again. First, Cronenworth singled to lead off the inning. Two outs later, Sullivan laced a two-run home run just over the padding in right field, extending the Stone Crabs lead to 3-0. Charlotte's bullpen duo of Michael Velasquez and Dalton Moats sealed the win with scoreless efforts in the sixth and seventh innings.
Burch Smith made his season debut starting for Charlotte and tossed 3.1 innings, allowing a hit and walking one with four strikeouts. Velasquez earned the win for the first game of the doubleheader, tossing 2.2 innings of shutout baseball, scattering two hits while walking one and tallying a strikeout. Moats got his fifth save of the season, throwing a scoreless seventh.
Offensively, Sullivan finished game one going 2-for-3 with a homer, his fifth, three RBIs and a run scored. Jake Cronenworth and David Olmedo-Barrera each had two hits in the first game as well. Tampa Bay Rays infielder Brad Miller started at second base for the 'Crabs and went 1-for-1 with a double and a walk.
The Cardinals took game two, 4-1, scoring two runs in both the second and third innings. After striking out the first two batters in the second, Stone Crabs' starter Roel Ramirez issued walks to Austin Wilson and Jose Godoy. Leobaldo Pina and Darren Seferina each singled in a run, giving Palm Beach a 2-0 lead in the second.
In the third, Ramirez walked Blake Drake before getting a fly out. Stone Crabs manager Michael Johns went to the bullpen, calling on newcomer Hunter Adkins to make his debut, but he allowed back-to-back singles, which loaded the bases for the Cardinals. Austin Wilson hit a two-run single with two outs as Palm Beach took a 4-0 lead.
The Stone Crabs got a run across in the fourth as Tampa Bay Rays rehabbing infielder Brad Miller doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a wild pitch by Cardinals pitcher, Ross Vance. That's as close as Charlotte would get in game two though, falling 4-1.
Roel Ramirez took the loss for Charlotte in game two, surrendering two runs on three hits in 2.1 innings while striking out five. Hunter Adkins allowed two runs in his Stone Crabs debut. Reece Karalus had a strong performance out of the bullpen, hurling a pair of scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
Offensively in game two, Brad Miller went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored as the Stone Crabs' designated hitter.
The Stone Crabs and Cardinals continue their four-game series on Sunday, July 2 at 12:35pm. It's a Community Free Sunday, presented by Florida Community Bank, so parking & ballpark admission is absolutely free! Fans can play catch in the outfield from 11:45-12:10. For tickets, just visit the FCB Box Office at the ballpark prior to the game.
Eduar Lopez (6-6, 4.34) will get the ball for the Stone Crabs and he'll be opposed by Cardinals right-hander Connor Jones (5-4, 4.27).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.