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Marauders Drop 2 of 3 to Mets


Willie Garcia

photo by secondshotphoto.com

BRADENTON – The Bradenton Marauders got their first win of the season Saturday night, besting the St. Lucie Mets 4-3. However, the victory was sandwiched by two defeats as Frank Kremblas tries to get his new team to gel after getting off to an 0-8 start.

Sloppy defense and poor fundamentals spoiled what started off as a close game Sunday, in a contest the Mets eventually went on to win 8-2, aided by three Bradenton errors. The bats finally came alive in the second half of the game, but too many men were left on base and despite 10 hits – which earned every ticket holder a free frosty at Wendy's – the Mets were unable to add a run after a two-run rally in the 4th.

Eliecer Navarro fell to 0-2 with the loss, giving up 3 runs in 3.1 innings of work. Zach Thornton retired the final six Mets batters to earn his first save.

Adrian Sampson’s second start for Bradenton started like his debut ended. The first three batters of the game hit safely, spotting the Mets to an early 1-0 lead. Sampson escaped the first with only one more run scoring and went on to set down 13 straight St. Lucie batters. He left after 4 and 1/3 innings pitched, allowing four hits and just the two runs, striking out three.

Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard, a key part of the R.A. Dickey trade with Toronto during the offseason, made it look like the 2-0 lead would be enough early. The right cruised through the first three innings without allowing a hit.

Like Friday, the Marauders broke through in the fourth inning when Syndergaard’s command wavered. A bases loaded walk to Jacob Stallings halved the lead to 2-1. Syndergaard whiffed eight through five innings, but left with the score tied 2-2 after a two out rally. Benji Gonzalez singled and stole second in front of an RBI base knock from Gregory Polanco.

photo by secondshotphoto.com

The Mets scored in the top of the seventh against Robbie Kilcrease (W, 1-0) to briefly take a 3-2 lead. It was the first run surrendered by Kilcrease in 2013, coming in his third inning on the mound in the game. He had escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth in relief of Sampson.

Bradenton scored the decisive runs in the seventh against Estarlin Morel (L, 1-1). Alen Hanson bunted for a hit with one out and promptly stole second. Gonzalez doubled to score Hanson. After Polanco flew out, Jose Osuna hit an infield single to put runners at the corners. Dan Gamache followed with a single to right for the go-ahead run. Osuna and Gamache each wound up caught between bases on the play, with Osuna being tagged out at the plate to end the inning.

Bradenton dropped their third extra-inning game of the season on Friday night at McKechnie Field, falling 6-5 to the St. Lucie Mets in 12 innings. Willy Garcia turned in the top performance at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double.

Matt Benedict started on the mound for the Marauders. The Mets plated three runs in the second inning on a bases-loaded double from T.J. Rivera to take the early lead, but did not score again against Benedict. The righty pitched 5 and 2/3s innings, striking out five.

The Marauders solved St. Lucie starter Jacob DeGrom in the fourth. Dan Gamache singled home two runs, and after moving to third on Garcia’s double, scored on Jacob Stallings’ sacrifice fly to tie the game 3-3. Garcia homered off DeGrom in the sixth to put the Marauders in front 4-3. DeGrom finished with seven strikeouts through three innings.

The Mets swiftly scored the equalizer in the top of the seventh. A two-error inning in the seventh and a four-error ninth aided the Mets in taking a 5-4 lead.

Garcia and Carlos Mesa provided a lift for the Marauders in the ninth. After Garcia singled and stole second, Mesa tied the score with a two-out single to center off T.J. Chism.

Quinton Miller (L, 0-2) pitched all three extra innings for the Marauders. Miller struck out three, including a crucial strikeout of Rivera in the 10th. In the 12th, Rivera was again bested by Miller, popping out with the bases loaded for the first out. The next batter, Cam Maron, drove home the winning run for St. Lucie with an RBI fielder’s choice.

Randy Fontanez pitched 1 and 1/3 innings to earn his first win. Hamilton Bennett retired Dan Grovatt and Gregory Polanco in the ninth for his first save.


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