TAMPA – Pitchers dominated at Steinbrenner Field on Monday night, but the Marauders (50-42, 15-8) got the offense going with a position player on the mound, plating four 12th inning runs to defeat the Tampa Yankees (45-49, 11-12) 6-2. Tampa’s backup catcher, Wes Wilson (L, 1-1), took the loss on the hill in his second appearance on the mound this season. The Marauders won three out of four in the series and six out of eighth against the Yankees this year.
TAMPA – With the score tied 2-2 entering the 12th inning, Wilson hit Raul Fortunato on the leg to start the Bradenton rally. Justin Maffei followed with a soft looping single to right field to put two aboard. Max Moroff’s chopper to the right side was kept in the infield by a diving Tampa infielder, but went as an infield hit to load the bases. Josh Bell followed with his second hit of the night, a hard grounder up the middle to put Bradenton on top 3-2. Jose Osuna gave the Marauders breathing room with a triple to left field, clearing the bases.
Bell was already one of the heroes of the game before his go-ahead knock in the 12th. The Marauders trailed 2-1 in the eighth inning when Moroff worked a walk with one out against Tampa reliever Chris Smith. Moroff moved to second on a wild pitch with Bell batting. Bell then lined a ball into center field that eluded diving Tampa centerfielder Jake Cave, resulting in an run-scoring triple. Smith recovered to retire Osuna on a shallow fly to left field and Jordan Steranka on a strikeout to keep the score tied 2-2.
The Marauders plated the first run of the game almost immediately against reigning Florida State League Pitcher of the Week Miguel Sulbaran. Maffei led off with a single, stole second, and scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Steranka. Sulbaran settled down to limit Bradenton to just the one run on five hits, striking out four over six walk-free innings.
John Kuchno turned in one of the most brilliant pitching efforts by a Marauder this season. The righty’s lone rocky inning came in the first. Kuchno walked Greg Bird with two outs, then allowed a double to Dante Bichette Jr., putting two in scoring position. Yeicock Calderon singled to score two and give Tampa a 2-1 lead that stood until the eighth. Kuchno then set down 22 of the next 24 batters, allowing singles to Aaron Judge in the fourth and seventh innings. Kuchno pitched eight innings, surrendering four hits, striking out one and walking one.
Pat Ludwig pitched the ninth and 10th innings for Bradenton. Josh Smith (W, 3-1) pitched a perfect 11th inning against the top of the order, striking out two. Bryton Trepagnier recorded the final three outs.
Bradenton is off on Tuesday, then opens a four-game series on Wednesday at McKechnie Field against the Clearwater Threshers. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m., with gates opening at 5:30 p.m.
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