By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — Through 58 games this season, David Olmedo-Barrera hadn’t batted higher than fifith in the Charlotte Stone Crabs order.
That changed Saturday night when Olmedo-Barrera batted first and provided a in a 7-2 win over the Florida Fire Frogs.
“We had 12 hits last night and (only) three runs, so we were just trying to change things up,” manager Michael Johns said of the change. “He’s been having good at-bats.”
Olmedo-Barrera, who has taken most of his at-bats as the No. 7 hitter, went 3-for-5 with a run batted in and another scored to help the Stone Crabs end a three-game losing streak.
“(I found out) earlier today when I showed up to the field,” he said. “It was a little bit of a surprise, but MJ came up to me and said not to change anything, and that I should just stay with my approach and not worry about it.”
The Stone Crabs got a quality start from pitcher Eduar Lopez, who tossed six strong innings, while allowing just one earned run. Lopez also struck out a tied-for-season-best five batters, and needed just 81 pitches for his outing.
“Yeah we were (thinking of having Lopez go out for the seventh inning),” Johns said. “He’s had a pretty heavy workload and we’re trying to be careful with our starters right now. We wanted to get him out on a positive note.”
He helped get the win thanks to the hot bats of Brett Sullivan and Ryan Boldt.
Sullivan went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and a run scored. It was his fielder’s choice in the third inning – scoring Olmedo-Barrera – that proved to be the eventual game-winning run. He also stole a pair of bases.
Boldt also reached base three times and scored an insurance run in the seventh inning on Sullivan’s two-run single.
“Sully played a really good game,” Johns said. “Boldt is a good hitter. He’s going to have a lot of multi-hit games. It doesn’t matter if it’s against a left-hander or a right-hander.”
Dalton Moats had a key relief outing, nearly picking up a three-inning save, but fell just short when he pitched himself into trouble in the ninth inning. He allowed just two hits, but also walked three, in 2.1 innings of work.
Brandon Lawson earned the save, taking over from Moats with the bases loaded and closing out the win.
The teams conclude the four-game series at 12:35 p.m. today. Charlotte is on the road Monday to start a four-game series with Fort Myers prior to the All-Star Break this weekend.