By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Stone Crabs held on for a win in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, as they defeated the Brevard County Manatees 5-4.
Jace Conrad hit a leadoff single to begin the seventh inning for Charlotte, and eventually came around to score the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly by Thomas Milone.
This came just moments after Diego Castillo blew a save opportunity in the top of the seventh inning, when he allowed a game-tying, two-run bomb to Blake Allemand.
The big hit of the game for the Stone Crabs came off the bat of Joe McCarthy in the sixth inning. McCarthy crushed a two-run homer to score Grant Kay, and give Charlotte a 4-2 lead. The home run was McCarthy’s second of the season.
Brad Boxberger got the start again for Charlotte in a rehab appearance for an oblique injury. It was his third showing for the Stone Crabs this week, and likely his last before rejoining the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Having the one day off instead of two was a little different,” Boxberger said. “Just being able to go out there and feel good was my main goal today. I feel 100 percent.”
Boxberger allowed one run on two hits – a single and double – and had one strikeout one a 92 mph fastball.
According to the Rays’ closer, if all continues to go well in the next few days, he will likely re-join the team in Los Angeles on Tuesday for a two-game set against the Dodgers.
Riley Unroe picked up an RBI when his groundout scored Mac James from third in the fourth inning, managing to tie things at 2-2.
With runners on the corners and nobody out in the second inning, Stone Crabs pitcher Chris Pike got the double-play ball he needed, but the runner at third still came around to score, which gave the Manatees a 2-1 lead.
Charlotte tied the game when a long flyball by Mac James was misjudged by Brevard County left fielder Elvis Rubio. James reached second on the error, and Jake Cronenworth, who had previously singled, scored to make it 1-1.