STONE CRABS: Charlotte falls short of series sweep

By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports


PORT CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Stone Crabs were unable to complete the four-game sweep over the Dunedin Blue Jays in a 5-3 loss Friday night.

“I thought we played well,” manager Michael Johns said. “We had a chance to tie it there at the end after being down all game. We were able to take three of four from a pretty good team, so I’m pretty happy with our efforts the last four nights.”

In an action-packed series, the finale was a little more tame than the previous three games.

Dunedin scored runs in three innings thanks to hits in bunches from the middle of the order. Each run-scoring frame began with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who scored three runs, reaching base.

Connor Panas went 3-for-3 with three singles and two RBI to lead the Blue Jays. D.J. Davis also knocked in two runs.

Stone Crabs starting pitcher Brandon Lawson had a strong outing in the losing effort. He tossed 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks.

Lucius Fox had himself another solid game since being called up to the Stone Crabs. The shortstop collected two hits and scored another run.

The game also included a bizarre play in the second inning. With a runner on first base, Blue Jay J.C. Cardenas swung at a pitch that was initially ruled a foul tip and then changed to a swinging strike by umpire Luis Hernandez.

D.J. Davis advanced to second base on the play, which Johns protested because of the initial ruling of a foul tip. What made things so strange is that Hernandez and first base umpire Sean Shafer-Markle left the field for about 10 minutes to refer to a rulebook.

Johns’ only comment on the situation was that he’d never seen anything like that before.

Tampa Bay Rays players Daniel Robertson and Kevin Kiermaier both rehabbed with the Stone Crabs for the second straight game. Robertson played third base this time around, and again went 1-for-2 with a double.

Kiermaier served as the designated hitter and picked up two hits. The two major leaguers combined for the only extra-base hits of the night for Charlotte.

Both Rays are expected to be in the lineup again today. Robertson will DH while Kiermaier returns to the outfield.

Tim Tebow and the St. Lucie Mets will come to town for a four-game series beginning at 6:05 p.m. Brock Burke (2-3, 3.60 ERA) is slated to throw against Andrew Church (7-7, 4.94).

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