PORT ST. LUCIE – The Marauders (13-9) snapped a four game losing streak on Saturday night at Tradition Field, topping the Mets (13-9) 4-3 to regain a share of first place. Chad Kuhl (W, 3-1) became the first Marauder to three wins with six strong innings on the hill. Pat Ludwig (S, 1) recorded a nine out save.
St. Lucie plated two runs on four hits in the first inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Kuhl induced a double play grounder back to the mound by Aderlin Rodriguez to end the inning and limit the damage, then settled in and did not allow another run. Kuhl scattered five hits over the next five innings, allowing nine overall. Kuhl did not walk a batter or record a strikeout.
Bradenton rallied in the fourth to tie the game. Eric Wood walked and Jordan Steranka singled. Jose Osuna hit his second double of the night off Domingo Tapia (L, 1-3) to score both runners. Wood scored again an inning later on an RBI-single by Max Moroff.
The Mets threatened in the sixth. Eudy Pina tripled with one out against Kuhl. Maikys de la Cruz hit a grounder to Osuna at first. Osuna threw home and Jacob Stallings tagged out Pina, sparking an argument that led to the ejection of St. Lucie Manager Ryan Ellis. Stallings threw de la Cruz out stealing to end the inning.
The lead grew to 4-2 in the seventh when Josh Bell looped a two-out single to center to score Adam Frazier. Raul Fortunato went 3-for-5 in his first game in the leadoff spot for another offensive highlight.
Ludwig allowed a run in the seventh to cut the Marauders lead to one. The Mets put a runner on with two outs in the eighth, but Stallings threw out the would be base stealer at second to end the inning. In the ninth, the tying and winning runs reached scoring position with two outs, but Jairo Perez popped out to right field to end the game.
The rubber game of the series is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. John Kuchno will pitch for Bradenton. The game will be broadcast online at www.BradentonMarauders.com.