PORT CHARLOTTE – The Bradenton Marauders (33-30) plated four runs in the ninth inning to seize a 5-1 win over the Stone Crabs (30-32) on Monday night at Charlotte Sports Park. Bradenton got another stellar outing from John Kuchno, who fired seven innings for his third consecutive start. Kuchno allowed one run on six hits, walked two and struck out three.
The game was a duel between Charlotte starter Leonel Santiago and Kuchno for the first seven innings. Charlotte was able to plate a run in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead 1-0. Patrick Leonard singled, moved up a base on consecutive ground outs to reach third, and then scored on fellow Florida State League All-Star Justin O’Conner’s double. O’Conner went 3-for-4 in the game with two doubles.
Bradenton answered quickly off Santiago. Jin-De Jhang doubled with one out in the fifth inning. Eric Wood popped up for the second out and Jonathan Schwind struck out, however Schwind reached on a wild pitch on strike three. With men at the corners, Jeff Roy took advantage of the extra opportunity and smacked an RBI-single to center field to tie the score. Santiago cruised through the sixth and seventh and finished with six strikeouts.
The Marauders rallied with two away in the top of the ninth against Parker Markel (L, 2-2). Jhang walked and went to second on a wild pitch before being replaced by pinch runner Taylor Lewis. Another wild pitch sent Lewis to third, where he scored on Wood’s bouncing ball back up the middle to give Bradenton the lead. Jonathan Schwind followed with a single to center and went to second as the throw went to third. Ryan Garton took over on the mound, but Roy greeted him with a two-run single to left, stole his second base of the game, then scored himself on Adam Frazier’s double.
Jeff Inman (W, 1-0) pitched the eighth inning to earn the win. Jhondaniel Medina struck out the side in the ninth to end the game. Roy went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in.
The Marauders begin a three game series against the Palm Beach Cardinals on Tuesday night at McKechnie Field. Florida State League All-Star Orlando Castro will be on the mound for the Marauders against Cardinals lefty Kyle Helisek. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. The first 500 fans will receive a 2014 Marauders team photo.