July 8, 2017 - Florida State League (FSL) - Dunedin Blue Jays
After being shut out in two consecutive ballgames by the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the Dunedin Blue Jays offense broke out in a big way in the opening game of their home series against the Clearwater Threshers. The Jays knocked 17 hits and scored 12 runs, providing more than enough run support for starting pitcher Ryan Borucki in a 12-2 home win. The win moves the 8-7 Blue Jays into third place in the FSL's North Division, ahead of the 7-7 Threshers.
Borucki started on the mound looking for his third straight win and delivered, holding the Threshers hitless until the fourth inning. He threw 7.0 strong innings, allowing two runs (just one earned) on five hits and striking out six to earn his team-leading sixth victory of the season. He tied his season-highs in innings pitched and pitches thrown (98) in the contest and has now allowed three or less earned runs in fourteen of his last fifteen appearances on the mound.
RHP Franklyn Kilome started for Clearwater and provided the Threshers with a quality start but was saddled with a loss, allowing two earned over 6.0 innings.
The Blue Jays offense started the scoring with a run in the third inning on an RBI groundout by DH Lourdes Gurriel and added a second run in the fourth inning when 1B Juan Kelly scored on a passed ball. Clearwater battled back, scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth to tie the game.
The Jays took the lead back in the sixth, stringing together singles by Juan Kelly, RF Connor Panas, and SS J.C. Cardenas to take a 3-2 lead. Kelly struck again in the seventh, hitting a two-RBI double to extend Dunedin's lead to 5-2.
LHP Kirby Snead threw a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Borucki and then found himself in an unconventional save situation with a ten-run lead after Dunedin scored seven times in the bottom of the eighth. 2B Cavan Biggio knocked in the first of the seven runs with an RBI double and then came around to score on a single by Lourdes Gurriel. Following hits by LF Eduard Pinto and Juan Kelly, Connor Panas launched a towering three-run home run to right field. The Jays loaded the bases on a double by C Michael De La Cruz, a fielding error, and a hit by pitch and forced in their seventh run of the inning on a walk to Cavan Biggio.
Snead tossed a scoreless ninth inning, picking up his third save of the season and lowering the Dunedin bullpen's ERA to 1.13 in the month of July.
Of the many offensive standouts in the game, Juan Kelly led the charge, going 4-4 with a double, three RBIs, and three runs scored. Connor Panas had three hits to go along with his three runs batted in. Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel, Michael De La Cruz, and CF D.J. Davis each had two hits.
The Blue Jays and Threshers will square off again tomorrow night at 6:30 PM at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in game two of their three game series in Dunedin before heading to Clearwater for one game on Monday night. RHP Jordan Romano (4-3, 2.63 ERA) is scheduled to pitch tomorrow's game for Dunedin, going against LHP JoJo Reyes in his second start in the Florida State League.