The Florida Fire Frogs pieced together potential rallies late on Saturday night, but fell to the Bradenton Marauder, 5-3, at LECOM Park.
Trailing by two in the eighth, Alay Lago (1×3, R, BB) drew a lead-off walk against reliever Daniel Zamora (SV, 7), but Brett Cumberland (1×4, R, 2B), Braxton Davidson (1×4, 2 RBI) and Tyler Neslony (2×4, R) struck out against the lefty to end any threat.
Anfernee Seymour (2×2, BB) reached on a one-out walk in the ninth, but Zamora was able to retire Ray-Patrick Didder (0x4) and Austin Riley (1×4, BB) to end the game.
Florida (4-5, 29-46) had a one-run lead slip in the middle portion of the game with a four-run fifth by Bradenton (6-3, 43-33).
Ricardo Sanchez (3-9) gave up a single to Jordan George to start the frame, and walked Kevin Krause to put the first two men on. After a strikeout to Christian Kelley, Ty Moore singled to right to load the bases for the third time on the night for the home team.
Casey Hughston worked a full count against the Fire Frogs’ starter, and ripped the full-count pitch under the glove of Neslony at first to bring home George and Krause to put the visitors behind by a run, and end the night for Sanchez.
Sean McLaughlin took over out of the bullpen and balked home Moore from third, while moving Hughston up to second. With Alfredo Hayes at the plate, Hughtson stole third before the at-bat finished with a base-on-balls to put runners on the corners.
With Mitchell Tolman at the plate, Reyes broke for second and slid in ahead of the throw from Alex Jackson. Hughston took off for home on the play and scored without a throw to complete the four-run frame.
Sanchez worked out of early jams on the mound for Florida, as the lefty stranded the bases loaded in the first two frames, and left men at second and third in the third before allowing an RBI single to Tolman in the fourth to cut the Fire Frogs’ lead to one. The 20-year-old allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits, three walks and five strikeouts in the losing effort.
A defensive miscue benefited the Fire Frogs in the seventh inning to pull within 5-3. With Neslony at first, Alejandro Salazar (1×3, 2B) smacked a double down the line in left. Reyes’ relay throw into second got away from Tolman, allowing Neslony to score on the play.
Davidson drove in the first two runs of the game for Florida with a two-run single to center in the fourth.
Greg Hinsz (4-5) earned the win for the Marauders, allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits, a walk and four strikeouts across seven innings.
Florida will look to avoid dropping the series in game three of the four-game set at LECOM Park. LHP Drew Harrington (4-8, 4.50) looks to get the Fire Frogs back in the win column against LHP Taylor Hearn (4-5, 4.27) for the Marauders. First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m., with coverage starting at 12:45 p.m. on the Florida Fire Frogs Broadcasting Network.
The Fire Frogs return to Osceola County Stadium on Tuesday, July 4 for game one of a three-game set against the Hammerheads. Fans are encouraged to stay after the game to witness an Independence Day Spectacular, featuring the largest fireworks display of the season.
The series opener is also “Fire Rum Tuesday” at the ballpark, where fans can enjoy $3 Fire Rum mixed drinks and $2 tostones. Every Monday through Wednesday game is “Service Industry Night” in Kissimmee, where members of the service industry can purchase tickets at a discounted rate.