By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — This was a weekend to forget for the Charlotte Stone Crabs when it comes to situational hitting.
In three games against the Palm Beach Cardinals the last two days, Charlotte was a combined 3-for-31 with runners in scoring position. The Stone Crabs’ inability to get a runner in plagued them in an 8-1 loss on Sunday.
“That’s a frustrating loss,” manager Michael Johns said. “I know we’re playing a good team, but we had a lot of runners in scoring position today and yesterday, and we weren’t very good.”
Charlotte had its opportunities on nine at-bats with a runner in scoring position, but recorded an out each time. Brett Sullivan and Peter Maris each had a pair of singles in the loss. Cardinals starter Derian Gonzalez held the Stone Crabs in check through six innings, allowing an unearned run on six hits to earn the win.
The offensive daggers for the Cardinals came in the eighth inning when Thomas Spitz and Darren Seferina his back-to-back home runs off reliever Brandon Lawson.
Prior to Lawson taking the mound, starter Eduar Lopez labored through five innings. Early in the game it didn’t even seem like he would make it to the fifth, allowing three runs in the first two frames.
“He didn’t have his best command, but he got through five, so good for him,” Johns said.
Lopez walked four and gave up nine hits in his five innings. Lawson surrendered four runs in his three innings of relief work.
Stone Crabs pitchers combined to allow 16 hits on Sunday with six Cardinals collecting more than one basehit.
The teams close out the four-game series at 6:05 p.m. today with a Fourth of July fireworks special held after the game.