DUNEDIN, Fla. - JoJo Romero racked up nine strikeouts in six innings of one-hit ball, and three Threshers hurlers combined to strike out 16 in a three-hit shutout of the Dunedin Blue Jays on their way to a 3-0 win at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Saturday night.
Romero (1-1) earned his first win in a Threshers uniform, and has dominated in both start since joining Clearwater. The 20-year-old lefty allowed just one single and three walks in his six scoreless innings on Saturday, punctuating his outing with a strikeout of Juan Kelly for his ninth of the ballgame.
In two starts for Clearwater (46-39, 8-7), Romero has struck out 19 batters in 12.1 innings. He has allowed only four hits, and the only run against Romero was unearned.
Tyler Gilbert was just as electric, following Romero with two perfect innings in which he whiffed five of the six men he faced. Jeff Singer permitted a pair of singles to start the ninth, but struck out two on the way to his FSL-leading 17th save. The 16 strikeouts for the Threshers staff were the most for Clearwater in a nine-inning game this year.
Cornelius Randolph reached three times to extend his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games. Randolph finished 2-for-4 with a single, double, and a walk, and his 20-game run is the fourth-longest in the FSL this season.
The Threshers grabbed the advantage in the first inning, after Mark Laird jumped on the first pitch of the game and plopped a double into right-center field. Emmanuel Marrero's groundout moved Laird to third, and Randolph brought him home by lining a double down the left field line.
Clearwater took advantage of another leadoff double to tack on a run in the fourth.
Jan Hernandez opened the frame by sending the first pitch from Jordan Romano (4-4) into left, and Austin Bossart advanced him to third with a ground ball to the right side. Jose Pujols came through with a sacrifice fly to center to plate Hernandez and put Clearwater up 2-0.
The Threshers again capitalized on a runner in scoring position, nobody out situation in the seventh. This time Grenny Cumana walked to start the frame, and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
Laird pulled a ground to first to advance Cumana down to third, and Marrero delivered a sacrifice fly to left to score Cumana and boost the lead to 3-0.
The win over Dunedin (42-43, 8-8) was the eighth shutout victory for Clearwater this year.
Game three of the four-game set will take place at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Sunday, when Jose Taveras (5-4) takes the hill against Josh DeGraaf (2-0) at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on threshersbaseball.com starting at 4:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.