By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Stone Crabs needed 11 innings to scratch across their first runs of the day as they split a doubleheader with the Palm Beach Cardinals on Monday.
They waited until the fourth inning of game two before unleashing five runs in a 5-0 win.
“We needed a win because obviously we’re on a little bit of a skid here,” said manager Michael Johns, whose team broke a five-game losing streak in game two. “If it’s one inning, and we score five runs, I’ll take that.”
Dalton Kelly, Jim Haley and Angel Moreno each had doubles in the big inning for the Stone Crabs, as Haley’s came with the bases loaded to plate a pair of runs. Peter Maris and Angel Moreno also picked up an RBI.
That proved to be more than enough run support for starting pitcher Travis Ott, who tossed five scoreless in a much-needed win for both himself and the Stone Crabs.
Ott struck out seven batters on the night, and at one time whiffed four in a row. He surrendered just two hits and two walks in his outing.
“I thought (Ott) pitched as good as he can pitch,” Johns said. “It was good to see him bounce back after the start he had in Fort Myers. The thing that really impressed me is that he ran out of gas In the fifth inning, and he was still able to get through that. It was a big learning moment for him.”
Charlotte technically served as the away team, batting in the top halves of the innings, as it was a make-up game from April 23 when the two teams were scheduled to play at Palm Beach.
The Stone Crabs weren’t able to do much of anything in game one, despite bringing the tying run to the plate in the final inning of a 3-0 loss.
Charlotte batters managed just four hits, against Palm Beach’s Jake Woodford, who tossed 6 2/3 scoreless while keeping the Stone Crabs in check.
“Both teams had three days off, so I don’t know if it was rust,” Johns said of his team’s game one performance. “(Woodford) certainly did a nice job pitching with his fastball. He had us off-balanced for the first three or four innings.”
A one-out walk for David Olmedo-Barrera followed by a two-out single for Thomas Milone chased Woodford from the game, requiring reliever Dailyn Martinez to finish the final out of the game to record his first save of the game.
The hit for Milone was his second of the game. Second baseman Brandon Lowe had the team’s only extra-base hit of the night with a double in the fourth inning. The game was Lowe’s first since returning from the disabled list.
Palm Beach scored two runs in the first inning off Charlotte starter Roel Ramirez, who allowed just the two runs on five hits and three walks over four inning. Joe Serrapica relieved him for the final three innings, and surrendered just a pair of hits and one unearned run.
What is considered game two of the three-game series will be played tonight at 6:35 p.m. with Genesis Cabrera on the mound for the Stone Crabs against the Cardinals’ Connor Jones.