Clearwater 4 at Sarasota 3
W: J. Trujillo (1-0, 0.00); L: S. Watson (0-1, 6.00); SV: R. Swindle (1)
For a while, it looked like the Sarasota Reds really wanted to travel over to see the Brevard County Manatees tonight. For a while.
Sarasota jumped out to an early lead as Cody Strait scored off a failed force attmept on Tonys Gutierrez. A fielding error by Clearwater's Brad Harman led to the run with 2 men on base, both walked by Antonio Bastardo.
Clearwater finally got to former Miracle pitcher Alexander Smit in the 4th when Brad Harmon singled and Jeremy Slayden drew a walk. Jake Blalock doubled in the pair on a fly out to center.
The Reds took their lead back though in the bottom of the inning with Eric Eymann doubling in Gutierrez, then passing the plate when Clearwater's Jason Donald threw the ball away.
Sean Watson would replace Smith in the top of the 5th. He'd work 2 innings before the Threshers rallied in 7th.
Clay Harris singled his way onto base. With 2 outs, Brian Burgamy plated him to tie up the game, then stole 2nd base. Brad Harman would draw a walk, Jason Donald would be hit by a pitch and then Jeremy Slayden would walk to force in a run. That prompted the Reds to put Dan Denham onto the mound to get the last out.
The Reds could get nothing off Bear Hill or Rob Swindle and it will be the Clearwater team, not the Sarasota team, taking the bus over to Spacecoast Stadium for a pair of games this weekend.
Smit surrendered two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 4 2/3 frames for Sarasota.
In the Midwest League, Clinton defeated Cedar Rapids 5-4. The Rangers affiliate will host the Snappers for the first game in the next round of the Midwest League Playoffs. The Southbend Silver Hawks used a 4-run first inning and 3-run 3rd inning to down the Dayton Dragons, 7-5. This was more bad news for the Reds organization who will now watch the Diamondbacks' farm team move into the next round against Detroit affiliated West Michigan White Caps.
In the Eastern League, the Trenton Thunder downed the Portland Sea Dogs 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series. Cody Ehlers was 2-for-3 for the Yankees affiliate with 1 run and 1 RBI. Regee Corona and Gabrial Lopez had the other 2 runs for Trenton. Daniel McCutchen tossed six strong innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks with 5 strike outs. Trenton can close out the series with a win in Game 4 on Saturday behind starter Jeff Marquez. Portland, which pulled out a 13-inning victory in Game 2 on Thursday, will send Chris Smith to the mound.
The Akron Aeros roughed up Eries' Andrew Kown picking up 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. Randor Bierd gave up 3 runs on 3 hits for the Detroit affilate which falls to 2-1 in the series. Stephen Head belted a two-run homer, his second of the series, in the 6th while Jordan Brown capped a 3-run seventh with a two-run shot, his first of the postseason for Akron. Jeremy Sowers pitched 7 1/3 solid innings for the Indian affiliated Aeros allowing 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.
The Devil Rays affiliated Durham Bulls ousted the defending Governor's Cup Champion Toledo Mud Hens from the playoffs, taking a 5-2 victory Friday to sweep the best-of-5 series. The Wild Card winning Richmond Braves took a 2-1 series advantage in over the Sranton/WB Yankees, posting a 6-4 win on Friday.