NFL, MLB, CFL stats

Stone Crabs Shine in Stars and Stripes

July 4, 2016 - Florida State League (FSL) - Charlotte Stone Crabs News Release

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - Greg Harris is noted by numerous scouts for his tremendous composure on the mound.

In front of the biggest crowd of the year, gathered to celebrate America's 240th birthday, the right-hander more than lived up to the hype.

Harris twirled seven terrific innings and the Stone Crabs survived both the Bradenton bats and a 47 minute lightning delay to beat the Marauders 3-1 in front of a massive crowd of 6,456 Stone Crabs fans at Charlotte Sports Park on Sunday night.

Harris (6-5) seemed to get better as the game went on. The son of 15-year Major League veteran Greg Harris Sr. allowed five hits and a walk through the first four innings, surviving three straight two-out rallies before allowing a Michael Suchy triple and an Elvis Escobar sacrifice fly in the fourth. But Harris faced the minimum in each of his final three innings, completing seven frames for the second straight start.

The Stone Crabs offense struggled initially against their former teammate Buddy Borden, who joined the Pirates organization after being released by the Rays from Double-A Montgomery on June 10. Borden (0-1) allowed just one hit through his first four innings, entering the fifth with a 1-0 lead.

But the 2015 Stone Crab finally ran into struggles in the fifth. Jace Conrad led off the inning with a double to straightaway center, and Grant Kay dropped a perfect bunt single down the third base line to put runners on the corners with none out. If you've been following the Stone Crabs in 2016, you know what's next-Thomas Milone placed an exquisite safety squeeze bunt into no-man's land near first, scoring Conrad and tying the game.

With two on and none out, Riley Unroe became the third straight man to bunt and the first not to reach, sacrificing himself to advance the runners. Joe McCarthy strode up and smacked a sacrifice fly down the line in left, scoring Kay to give the Stone Crabs a lead they would not relinquish.

Charlotte loaded the bases with fewer than two outs in both the sixth and seventh innings against reliever Tanner Anderson but did not score either time, leaving the door open for Bradenton to rally. But Harris and reliever Mike Franco were too dominant, not even entertaining a baserunner from the fifth inning through the game's conclusion (Tito Polo singled twice, but was thrown out attempting to stretch it to a double both times).

The Stone Crabs finally added insurance in the eighth, as Kay hit a sac fly to score Mac James and make it 3-1. It was after that play that the players were forced to vacate the field due to lightning strikes, leading to the spectacular red-white-and-blue hue in the sky shown in the above photo. It was a truly special sight on an extremely apt occasion.

The Charlotte Stone Crabs celebrate the fourth of July tomorrow with a Monday afternoon game, as RHP Chris Pike (2-6, 4.05) battles Marauders RHP Jonathan Brubaker (0-2, 6.46). First pitch is scheduled for 12:35. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

• Discuss this story on the Florida State League message board...

Florida State League Stories from July 4, 2016

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central