The Florida Fire Frogs took a 5-1 lead into the eighth inning on Saturday night, but lost by a score of 7-5 to the Dunedin Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. The loss extended the Fire Frogs’ losing streak to six games, in which they have held a lead of five of those contests.
Florida (11-20, 36-61) grabbed the early lead with a run in the first on an RBI single from Justin Ellison (1×4, 2 RBI), plating Anfernee Seymour (1×5, 2 R, 2B) for the 1-0 advantage.
The visitors stretched the lead to 4-0 nothing with a three-spot in the second frame on a run-scoring single from Braxton Davidson (1×3, RBI, 2 BB), and a two-run single from Brett Cumberland (3×5, 2 RBI).
Cumberland’s three-hit performance extended the backstop’s hitting streak to eight games, in which the 22-year-old is 17-for-34.
Enderson Franco allowed a run in the bottom half of the frame when D.J Davis singled home Michael De La Cruz to cut Florida’s lead down to three.
The Fire Frogs’ starter finished with fifth quality start of the season by limiting the Blue Jays to just one run on six hits, two walks and five strikeouts in the no-decision. The 24-year-old set a season-high with 6.2 innings of work in the opener.
Florida got the run back in the fourth inning on Ellison’s second RBI of the night, a sacrifice fly to left that brought home Alay Lago (2×5, R).
The road team made the lead stick heading into the eighth inning, and Sean McLaughlin (2-4) retired Cavan Biggio to start the frame.
The inning unraveled from that point, as Dunedin (20-16, 54-51) sent 11 more men to the plate and wound up with a 7-5 lead.
Max Pentecost started the rally with an infield single to third, with Andrew Daniel throwing the ball into right field, allowing Pentecost to reach second. Vladimir Gruerrero, Jr. walked, and Connor Panas drove home Pentecost with a single to right, trimming the Fire Frogs’ lead to three.
Juan Kelly brought home both runners with a triple to the corner in right, while putting the tying run 90 ft. away for De La Cruz. The Blue Jays’ catcher sent a single into center field, scoring Kelly to tie the game at five apiece.
McLaughlin walked Jake Thomas to move the tying run into scoring position, ending the night for the product of Georgia.
Josh Graham relieved the right-hander, and allowed an RBI single past Daniel at third to Davis, scoring De La Cruz to put the home team in the lead. After a strikeout to J.C. Cardenas, Biggio was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Pentecost drew a free pass to force home the sixth run of the inning.
Graham struck out Guerrero, Jr. to end the inning, but the damage had been done with six runs crossing on five hits, four walks and an error.
Jackson McClelland (2-1) made things interesting in the ninth inning, as the reliever for the Blue Jays gave up a single to Cumberland to lead-off the inning. After Ellison struck out, Carlos Castro (2×5, 2 2B) sent a double off the wall in left to advance Cumberland to third and put the tying run in scoring position.
Matt Gonzalez (0x4, R, BB) struck out looking for the second out, and Daniel (0x5) took Panas just shy of the warning track in right to end the game.
Florida will look to even up the four-game series in game two on Sunday night from Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. LHP Oriel Caicedo (0-2, 4.78) toes the slab for the Fire Frogs against the Blue Jays’ RHP Josh DeGraaf (4-1, 2.88). First pitch is set for 5:00 p.m., with coverage starting at 4:45 p.m. on the Florida Fire Frogs Broadcasting Network.
Florida returns to Osceola County Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 3 for game one of a four-game series against the Bradenton Marauders. Every Thursday is “Thirsty Thursday” at the ballpark, where fans can enjoy 12 oz. beers and 12 oz. sodas for just one dollar.