The Florida Fire Frogs lost an early four-run lead, came back from five down to tie it late, but then fell in ten innings to Dunedin, 12-11, sealing a sweep for the Blue Jays on Wednesday evening at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium.
Drew Lugbauer started off his career-night by slamming a two-run homer over the right-field fence, his eighth of the year, plating Trey Harris with him for a 2-0 Fire Frogs lead in the second.
He would go 2-4 with that long ball, five RBIs (a new career-high), and two runs scored. He joined Andrew Moritz (3-5), Riley Delgado (2-6), and Logan Brown (2-5) who all contributed multi-hit efforts. Moritz and Delgado each scored three runs.
Florida’s advantage rocketed to 4-0 in the third against LHP Nick Allgeyer. Harris drove a double to left to bring in Moritz. Lugbauer’s sacrifice fly scored Delgado.
Allgeyer didn’t factor in the decision, giving up seven hits and six runs (five earned) with four strikeouts in five innings of work.
Dunedin’s bats came alive versus RHP Nolan Kingham in bottom of the third. Kacy Clemens brought in Kevin Vicuna and Cullen Large on a base hit to start the scoring. Ryan Noda reached on a fielding error by Lugbauer at first that brought in the third run. Samad Taylor kept his hot bat going by swatting a single that scored Clemens and Noda for Dunedin’s first lead, 5-4.
The Blue Jays extended the margin to 9-4 with a four-run fourth. Large smacked a two-run double. Clemens and Norberto Obeso recorded sacrifice flies in the stanza.
Kingham was pulled after the fourth, surrendering eight hits, nine runs (six earned), four walks, and adding a pair of strikeouts while being granted a no-decision.
Florida answered with two quick tallies to pull to within 9-6 after five. With Lugbauer batting, Moritz was forced across on an Allgeyer wild pitch. Lugbauer drove in Delgado on an RBI groundout.
The Fire Frogs kept chipping away, gaining another run on a wild pitch from Dunedin’s RHP Jackson Rees in the seventh which brought in the speedy Moritz; 9-7 D-Jays.
A ninth-inning charge began on a throwing error by Blue Jays shortstop Vicuna, enabling Delgado to get on with one out. Now with two outs, Lugbauer came through with a big RBI double to plate Delly. Kevin Josephina evened the game at 9 with a knock off RHP Brad Wilson that sent Lugbauer sprinting home.
Wilson blew his second save try, allowing three hits and two unearned runs across five outs.
While Florida was trying to climb back into the contest, RHP Lukas Young held the Blue Jays offense in check. He yielded just a hit and a walk over 2 and 2/3’s frames. RHP Troy Bacon entered and retired six of his first seven batters to give the Fire Frogs a chance in extras.
The Fire Frogs scraped across two runs to put themselves in good position in the tenth. Brett Langhorne got on courtesy of a Noda defensive miscue which permitted Brown to score for a 10-9 edge. Moritz plated Langhorne with a base hit to bump it to 11-9.
The Fire Frogs rally proved to be not quite enough. Back-to-back doubles from Nick Podkul and Cal Stevenson brought in runs to tie it at 11. Large’s walkoff knock with two down sent Stevenson scrambling home for a Blue Jays walk-off win, 12-11.
Bacon (2-3) ended up tossing three frames of three-hit baseball, giving up three runs (two earned), a walk, and notching two punchouts.
RHP Emerson Jimenez (4-1) won his second game of the set, yielded two unearned runs and just one hit over 1 and 1/3’s stanzas.
In his third rehab start with the Fire Frogs, Braves outfielder Ender Inciarte went 0-3 at the dish and played four innings in the field, registering two put outs.
NEXT UP: RHP Brooks Wilson (1-0, 1.57) gets the nod on a short turnaround as the Fire Frogs head south to LECOM Park to begin a four-game series with the Bradenton Marauders. Bradenton counters with RHP Nicholas Economos (2-3, 2.54). The Independence Day first pitch is slated for 10:30 a.m.