Florida Crushes Charlotte's Dreams with Come-From-Behind Victory
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - The Florida Fire Frogs may have been eliminated from postseason contention, but Sunday's contest against the Charlotte Stone Crabs had the feel of a playoff game for both teams to finish off the 2018 season.
A win for Charlotte (40-29, 74-62) would have propelled the Tampa Bay Rays affiliate into the postseason against the Palm Beach Cardinals (STL), regardless of the outcome of the Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) matchup against the Clearwater Threshers (PHI).
A loss, however, would make things a little tighter at the top of the South division.
The Stone Crabs were the first to crack through the scoreboard on Sunday, benefiting from a defensive miscue by the left side of the infield from the Fire Frogs.
Carl Chester popped up an 0-1 pitch from Filyer Sanchez to the left side, but neither CJ Alexander nor Riley Delgado could make the play, leading to the one-out base runner. Jake Fraley singled the runner to third, while taking second on the play, and Rene Pinto drove home the first run of the game with a single to center.
Russ Olive's sacrifice fly to center scored Fraley to put the Fire Frogs in a two-run hole.
Brian Shaffer carried a no-hit bid through six frames, and record the first two outs of the seventh before finally making a mistake.
Braxton Davidson (1x4, R, HR, RBI) clubbed his 20th home run of the season over the wall in left to end both the attempts at a no-hitter and a shutout, and build some momentum for the visitors.
Florida (22-43, 51-80) kicked it on against Charlotte's bullpen in the final two innings, plating four runs on six hits against Stone Crabs' relievers.
Jordan Rodgers (1x4, R, HR, 2 RBI) delivered the dream-crushing blow against Jhonleider Salinas (0-1), a two-run shot over the wall in left to give the Fire Frogs the 3-2 advantage.
William Contreras (2x4, R, 2B, 2 RBI) added insurance in the top of the ninth against Ivan Pelaez with a two-run double to the gap in left-center to create a three-run cushion.
Daysbel Hernandez (0-1) retired all seven batters he faced in relief of Sanchez to earn his first win with the Fire Frogs.
The road team's victory concluded both team's seasons, as the Miracle took care of the Threshers with a 2-1 win, giving the Minnesota Twins affiliate the tie breaker over Charlotte, and handing them the second-half South title.
Florida will have the next seven months off before returning to action on Thursday, April 4, 2019 to start its third season. The Fire Frogs will visit Jackie Robinson Ballpark for game one of a four-game series that will be split between the cities of Daytona Beach and Kissimmee.
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