By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — As the regular season dwindles down, the Charlotte Stone Crabs can still see some light at the end of the tunnel in their chase of the Fort Myers Miracle.
The Stone Crabs weren’t able to gain any ground in the Florida State League standings on Tuesday, as their split of the doubleheader with the Clearwater Threshers leaves Charlotte four games behind the Miracle.
It looked at one point like the Stone Crabs might end the night two games out of first place – when they were leading the second game and Fort Myers was trailing against the St. Lucie Mets – but the scores didn’t hold in either game, leaving the Stone Crabs on their last legs of the season.
Charlotte dropped game two of the twin billing 3-2 after the bats came alive for a victory in game one.
Game one starter Eduar Lopez couldn’t continue the incredible tear he’s been on since August began. The right-hander had a 0.67 ERA in his previous four starts, allowing just two earned runs over that time.
On Tuesday, Lopez was tagged for three runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Two of the runs came off the bat of Darick Hall, whose third-inning home run was his second of the evening, in his first day on the Threshers. Hall was called up Tuesday morning.
Charlotte came close to making a come back, as it put runners on the corners with two outs in the final inning, but couldn’t push across the final run.
The Stone Crabs gave Lopez the lone run of support in the first inning when Ryan Boldt hit an RBI single to score Michael Brosseau. They added another run later in the game when Jonah Heim single scored Riley Unroe to make it 3-2 in the fifth inning.
Charlotte put game one away early before cruising to an 8-2 victory.
The game couldn’t have started much better, as the Stone Crabs put the first three batters on base thanks to a Lucius Fox single, Michael Brosseau reaching on an error and a bases-clearing triple from Ryan Boldt. David Olmedo-Barrera later plated Boldt for Charlotte to take an early 3-0 lead.
The third inning was where the Stone Crabs chased Thresher starter Ranger Suarez out of the game when they began the frame with five consecutive singles on the way to scoring another pair of runs.
Peter Maris added a two-run home run – his sixth homer of the season – in the fifth inning to give Charlotte a 7-0 advantage. Maris was one of six Stone Crabs with a multi-hit game in the win. David Rodriguez, Olmedo-Barrera, Boldt and Fox all had two hits.
Brandon Lawson was cruising through the first five innings before allowing back-to-back homers to start the sixth. He picked up his fifth win of the season, allowing just the two runs on seven hits, one walk and three strikeouts.