LAKELAND – The Marauders (57-46, 22-12) are now just one game out of first place after defeating the Flying Tigers (50-51, 8-26) 5-1 on Saturday Night at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Marauders turned four double plays defensively to quell numerous potential Lakeland rallies.
John Kuchno (W, 6-8) turned in his third straight start of seven innings or longer, holding Lakeland to one run on six hits over seven frames. Yhonathan Barrios pitched the final two innings for Bradenton. Both pitchers struck out one batter.
Bradenton opened the scoring against Yorfrank Lopez (L, 5-8) in the second inning. Justin Howard doubled to center with one out and made it to third when Walker Gourley grounded out to second. Jin-De Jhang hit a slow roller toward the mound that Lopez juggled then threw away, allowing Howard to score.
The Marauders bats exploded in the third inning to the tune of four runs on five hits. Justin Maffei and Adam Frazier started the inning with consecutive singles. After a balk put both in scoring position, Jose Osuna singled in Maffei. Osuna and Frazier executed a double steal with men at the corners to sneak Frazier home and make the score 3-0. One out later, Eric Wood belted a double to plate Osuna. Howard singled to bring home Wood with the last Bradenton run.
Conner Harrell drove in the lone Lakeland run with a double off Kuchno.
The Marauders go for the series win on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. with Tyler Glasnow on the mound. He will be opposed by Edgar De La Rosa.
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