By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Five runs of support would’ve been more than enough on any of Brent Honeywell’s previous starts this season, but it didn’t get the job done Tuesday night.
Bradenton got to the Charlotte pitcher for a season-high six runs in an 11-5 Florida State League victory at Charlotte Sport Park that handed Honeywell his first loss of the season.
“I think both teams going into this thought it was going to be a low-scoring game,” Stone Crabs manager Michael Johns said. “Both guys on the mound have really good stuff.”
Honeywell, a highly-rated Tampa Bay Rays prospect, entered Tuesday’s start with a 1.57 earned run average to go along with a 4-0 record, and ended the day with a 2.41 ERA and the loss.
The right-hander allowed three runs in the third and fifth innings. He failed to make it out of the fifth, departing with one out and the bases loaded.
Despite allowing seven hits and three walks, Honeywell still managed to strike out six.
“It’s not that anything wasn’t working, I was just in the zone too much,” he said. “I threw too many strikes … It’s not frustrating, it’s more of like ‘you’re better than that.’ The worst part is, I didn’t give my guys an opportunity to win.”
Trailing 6-1, Charlotte began a failed comeback attempt in the sixth when Andrew Velazquez and Joe McCarthy started the inning with back-to-back singles. McCarthy had trimmed the Marauders lead to 3-1 in the fourth with a solo home run, his first of the season.
Alec Sole followed the singles by bouncing into a double play to score one run, but Justin Williams didn’t allow the twin killing to halt momentum when he followed with a two-run home run to make it 6-3.
It was the fourth homer of the season for Williams and his second in as many days.
“That’s the kind of hitter he is,” Johns said. “When he came back from the DL, his timing was never off. Now, he’s bringing the power. We always knew the power was there, and it’s starting to come to fruition.”
The Stone Crabs tacked on two more runs in the ninth inning, but by that time, it was far too little to late after the Marauders had scored two in the eighth and three in the ninth.
Andrew Bellatti relieved Honeywell in the fifth, and escaped the jam, stranding all three inherited runners. He also retired five of the six batters he faced.
Marauders pitcher Yeudy Garcia (4-5) struck out eight, including four in the fourth. Garcia held Charlotte to three runs on five hits in six innings of work.
Each of the starting nine Stone Crab batters, except for McCarthy, struck out at least once.
Infielder Grant Kay pitched the final out for Charlotte. He took the mound with the bases loaded, walked the first batter he faced, allowed a one-run single, and got a fly out. Both runs were charged to Jose Alvarado.
MARAUDERS 11, STONE CRABS 5
HITTER OF THE GAME
Justin Williams, Stone Crabs: Williams crushed his third homer of the last four games on his way to a 3-for-4 night with two runs scored. The home run was also his second in as many days.
PITCHER OF THE GAME
Yeudy Garcia, Marauders: The Bradenton right-hander fanned eight while picking up the win. Combined with the four strikeouts his bullpen picked up, Bradenton set down eight of the nine Stone Crabs starters on strikes.
Fifth: Brent Honeywell allowed three of his season-high six runs in the fifth, and didn’t make it out of the inning. It gave Bradenton a 6-1 at the time, essentially putting the game out of reach.
THEY SAID IT
Michael Johns, Stone Crabs Manager: “Honeywell is human. His numbers aren’t always human, but he is human. He’s going to give up runs. He’s going to give up hits. It’s a learning lesson, and that’s why we do what we do.”