Cards Miss Opportunities Late, Fall to Tigers
Jupiter, FL - The Palm Beach Cardinals had several great run-scoring opportunities but didn't do enough to capitalize on the chances as the Lakeland Flying Tigers came away with a 5-3 victory on Wednesday night at Roger Dean Stadium. Lakeland leads the current series 2-1 with one game remaining.
The Cardinals (25-14, 61-47) stranded 10 baserunners on the night and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Trailing 4-1 in the sixth inning, Palm Beach looked poised to start a rally but left the bases loaded.
The seventh inning was much of the same, as the Birds put three on with nobody out but only mustered one run on an RBI groundout by Bruce Caldwell. The team ultimately left two runners in scoring position when the inning ended.
Caldwell provided all three RBI in the game for Palm Beach. The third baseman went 2-for-4 and turned in his team-leading eighth, three-RBI performance this season. He leads the league with 42 RBI since May 29.
Caldwell drove in his first run in the opening frame - a bloop single into left field to plate Nick Martini. Martini reached on an error and moved to third on a shallow flare to right off the bat of Ildemaro Vargas before Caldwell's single made it 1-0.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Austin Green hit a solo home run off Tyrell Jenkins to lead off the second. It was his second homer in as many days for the Flying Tigers (11-27, 53-52). Curt Powell and Jared Reaves both singled and scored later in the inning to give Lakeland the 3-1 lead. Powell dented the plate on a double steal and Reaves came home on a Tyler Hanover RBI single up the middle.
The Flying Tigers pushed across another run in the third with the help of a Palm Beach error to extend their lead to 4-1. Jenkins finished his outing with a scoreless fourth and fifth inning for the Cardinals. The right-hander was charged with four runs - three earned - on six hits over five innings. Jenkins (4-3) walked one, struck out one and took the loss.
The two teams traded runs in the seventh inning with Caldwell's bases-loaded RBI groundout in the bottom half making it a 5-2 advantage for Lakeland.
Martini singled and scored his second run of the night on a Caldwell sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to cut the Tigers' lead to 5-3. Palm Beach wouldn't come any closer.
Palm Beach reliever Iden Nazario fanned four in two innings of relief and his only blemish was a solo home run to Jeff McVaney in the seventh. Ronnie Shaban and Danny Miranda each chipped in a scoreless inning of relief to end the game for the Cardinals.
Tommy Collier (2-1) was terrific in the start for Lakeland. He allowed one unearned run on four hits over six innings to pick up the win.
The two teams will conclude the four-game series on Thursday night at Roger Dean Stadium. RH Joe Cuda (7-7, 6.20) will start for Palm Beach against RH Yorfrank Lopez (5-8, 4.63) for Lakeland. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
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