The Florida Fire Frogs plated three runs in the first three innings to jump out to an early lead against the St. Lucie Mets on Tuesday night, leading to a 3-1 victory at Osceola County Stadium on Tuesday night. The series opener was the ninth contest to be decided by two runs or less through 12 games for the Fire Frogs to start the 2018 season.
James pieced together three hits on Tuesday, giving the corner outfielder back-to-back three-hit performances. The Sacramento native has six hits in nine chances over his last two games.
Ray-Patrick Didder (2×4, R, HR, 2 RBI) belted a 1-1 pitch from Justin Dunn (1-1) over the wall in left to start the second inning for the two-run cushion. The long ball was the first earned run surrendered by Dunn in 11 innings to start the season for the right-handed pitcher.
Jeremy Walker aimed at becoming the fourth straight Florida (4-8) pitcher to toss five shutout innings, but fell one batter shy of the completing the task. The 6-for-5 hurler recorded two outs around a single from Paez in the fifth, but allowed an infield single to Jacob Zanon, ending the night for the Gardner-Webb product. The North Carolina native gave up four hits and walked a man, while picking up a strikeout in 4.2 innings.
Jon Kennedy (2-1) worked 2.1 hitless frames out of the bullpen for this second win of the season, and took the 3-0 lead into the ninth for Chad Sobotka.
Sobotka set down Dash Winningham with a flout to center, but gave up a hit to Ian Strom, and walked Paez and Gene Cone to load the bases. After striking out Zanon with a breaking ball, The right-handed reliever forced home a run with a walk to Gimenez.
Florida aims for the series victory in game two of the three-game set against St. Lucie (6-5) on Wednesday night at Osceola County Stadium. LHP Tucker Davidson (0-2, 9.00) takes the mound for the Fire Frogs against the Mets RHP Josh Prevost (1-1, 7.20). First pitch is set for 6:31 p.m.
Friday, April 20, is Bark in the Park, sponsored by Just 4 Dogs. Fans can bring their canine friend to Osceola County Stadium with absolutely no charge! The first 50 dogs will receive a water bowl courtesy of Just 4 Dogs and the Florida Fire Frogs.