August 6, 2017 - Florida State League (FSL) - Charlotte Stone Crabs
DUNEDIN, Fla- The Charlotte Stone Crabs mounted an unlikely comeback in the ninth inning Saturday, but fell short in a 6-4 loss to the Dunedin Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Trailing 6-1 entering the ninth inning, Blue Jays (59-52, 24-17) reliever Phillip Walby retired the first two batters before running into trouble. With Charlotte (53-56, 22-19) down to their final out, Peter Maris walked before David Olmedo-Barrera doubled him to third. After a walk to Nate Lowe loaded the bases, Walby uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Maris to score and make it 6-2. Walby then walked Jonah Heim to load the bases.
Dunedin then turned to Dan Leitz with two outs and the bases loaded. Thomas Milone promptly lined a single to left to plate Olmedo-Barrera and make the score 6-3. With Lucius Fox batting, Blue Jays catcher Michael De La Cruz sailed a pickoff attempt into left field, allowing Lowe to come in and make it 6-4. After Fox walked, Angel Moreno grounded out to shortstop and end the game.
Milone finished the contest 3-for-4 with two RBIs, matching season highs in both categories.
Stone Crabs reliever Fernando Baez also set a season-high Saturday, striking out six Blue Jays in two scoreless innings of relief. Baez's six punchouts also sets a Stone Crabs' season high for a reliever.
Brock Burke (2-5) started the game for the Stone Crabs and struggled early. After allowing a run on three straight two-out hits in the second inning, Burke allowed a solo home run to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the third to give Dunedin a 2-0 lead. After that, Juan Kelly and De La Cruz both singled before Connor Panas launched a three-run home run to right to make the score 5-0. Dunedin tacked on another run in the fourth to make it 6-0.
Down six in the top of the eighth, Lowe singled to center to start the inning for Charlotte. Heim then ripped a hit to left before Milone singled to score Lowe and make it 6-1.
Spencer Jones struck out the side for Charlotte in the bottom of the eighth to keep the game at 6-1 and set up the exciting ninth.
The Stone Crabs will look to earn a split with Dunedin at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Burch Smith (1-0, 1.90) makes the start for Charlotte against Conor Fisk (6-9, 4.15) of the Blue Jays. Coverage begins at 4:45 p.m. on the Stone Crabs Baseball Network.