Close Calls Haunt Marauders in Tuesday Loss
BRADENTON, Fla. - The Marauders squandered a two-run lead Tuesday night and struggled to bring baserunners home in a 6-4 loss to the Palm Beach Cardinals at LECOM Park.
The loss ended a brief three-game win streak for the Marauders (23-14, 52-49), but a Tampa Tarpons loss to Dunedin kept Bradenton in a two-way tie for first place in the FSL West.
The Marauders assembled a mini-rally in the first inning against Cardinals (23-14, 53-48) starter Trent Baker, drawing two walks and two hit batsmen. Bradenton scored the first runs of the game when the Cardinals were unable to turn an inning-ending double play, enabling both Tsung-Che Cheng and Sergio Campana to score.
Palm Beach promptly tied the score in the top of the second on a Michael Curialle two-run double off Anthony Solometo, but the Marauders regained the lead, 4-2, in the third on RBI-singles by Brenden Dixon and Norkis Marcos. The inning would be the last for Baker, who finished with 76 pitches in just three innings.
Solometo, meanwhile, lasted through four innings and finished with four strikeouts for the Marauders, and Bubba Chandler took over to begin the fifth and struck out the side. But in the sixth, Chandler allowed a leadoff single to Nathan Church and surrendered a game-tying two-run homer to Thomas Francisco. The right-hander struggled on-and-off with command, walking three batters in three innings, but still struck out six and finished his outing by escaping a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the seventh to keep the score tied, 4-4.
In the top of the eighth, Palm Beach's Chris Rotondo and Curialle hit back-to-back one-out infield singles off Yunior Thibo. Deivis Nadal, making his first start of the season in left field, made an impressive running catch for the inning's second out, but Dixon bobbled a soft two-out grounder at first base, allowing the go-ahead run to score, and Brody Moore plated another run with the Cardinals' third infield single of the inning.
Bradenton mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, as Nadal and Marcos hit back-to-back singles with two out off left-hander Nelfri Contreras. Andrew Marrero entered to face Jasiah Dixon, who checked his swing on a two-strike wild pitch in the dirt. Nadal raced home from third, but Dixon was called out on the check swing after the fact and was ruled to have left the home-plate circle prior to running to first base on the dirt ball, snuffing out the Bradenton threat.
The ninth inning saw another Marauders comeback bid against Marrero, as Cheng led off with a hit-by-pitch and Campana followed with a single. Juan Jerez grounded into a fielder's choice that forced Cheng out at third base, and Jack Brannigan flied out to deep center, allowing both Cheng and Campana to tag up and advance one base. But Brenden Dixon was caught looking at a third-strike breaking ball, ending the game and stranding both men in scoring position.
The Marauders stranded 10 baserunners in the game and went just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The series continues Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 12 p.m. at LECOM Park. RHP Carlos Jimenez will start for the Marauders, while RHP Tink Hence will start for Palm Beach.
For more information about the Bradenton Marauders, please call (941) 747-3031, visit BradentonMarauders.com.
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Florida State League Stories from August 9, 2022
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