Bradenton Marauders pound Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 22-5, in series finale
FORT MYERS – The Mighty Mussels’ pitching staff surrendered a season-high 22 runs on 21 hits Sunday, as Fort Myers suffered a 22-5 defeat in the finale of the series with Bradenton at Hammond Stadium.
The Marauders (62-38) scored in seven of their nine offensive innings, plating multiple runs six times. Four Bradenton hitters got seven plate appearances in the nine-inning game. The total of 17 runs was also the largest margin of defeat that Fort Myers (50-48) has experienced this season.
In addition to their 21 hits, the Bradenton hitters drew six walks and six hit-by-pitches. The Mussels’ four errors led to 10 unearned runs.
The Mussels showed some fight in the bottom of the third after falling behind 9-0. Will Holland and Willie Joe Garry Jr. both ripped base hits to start the inning before Alerick Soularie walked to load the bases. The next batter was Keoni Cavaco, who was hit by a pitch to force in a run and make it 9-1. Two batters later, Jesus Feliz was also plunked to bring the score to 9-2. Jake Rucker then plated another run on a groundout to second. Moments later, Cavaco raced home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 9-4.
In the next half inning, Dylan Shockley delivered a two-out, two-run single to right to push Bradenton back up by an 11-4 margin.
Fort Myers added a run in the ninth on a solo home run by Christian Encarnacion-Strand, his second dinger of the week.
The Mussels’ wrapped up the season series with their geographic rivals with a 10-13 record. Bradenton is currently in playoff position in the Low-A Southeast.
Fort Myers will enjoy an off day on Monday before traveling to Daytona to begin a six-game series on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. All six games will be broadcast on the Tortugas Baseball Network.
Box Score: https://atmilb.com/3zs3yAx
Mussels’ comeback falls short in 8-6 defeat
FORT MYERS – The Mighty Mussels scored five unanswered runs in the final three innings Saturday, but the Bradenton Marauders hung on to win 8-6 at Hammond Stadium.
With Fort Myers (50-47) trailing 7-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, Jesus Feliz clobbered his seventh home run in 40 games this season to make it 7-2. After Jake Rucker reached on an error, Will Holland cranked an RBI double to left to make it 7-3.
Still trailing by four in the eighth, Rucker singled with two outs against Bradenton (61-38) reliever Justin Meis. Holland then reached on a fielding error to put two men on. The next batter was Kyler Fedko, who ripped a double to left to score Rucker. The throw came in to third, and skipped off the cut-off man and began rolling towards the mound. Holland dashed home to make it 7-5, while Fedko raced for third. The throw to third sailed into left field, allowing Fedko to score to make it 7-6. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases, Meis struck out Patrick Winkel on the eighth pitch of the at bat to snuff out the rally.
Jack Herman added an insurance run with a solo home run in the top of the ninth to make it 8-6. Oliver Mateo then worked a perfect ninth to earn the save and even the series at three games apiece.
Despite the loss, Fort Myers racked up 11 hits on the night – including six balls in play at 100+ mph in exit velocity. Feliz’ home run left the bat at 101.6 mph and a 36-degree launch angle, clearing the wall in deep left center.
Holland notched his second three-hit game of the series while Misael Urbina reached base three times.
Box Score: https://atmilb.com/3DqUChl
New Mussels power Fort Myers to 10-2
FORT MYERS – Alerick Soularie and Christian Encarnacion-Strand both connected on their first Mighty Mussels’ home runs Friday, leading Fort Myers past Bradenton 10-2 in the nightcap at Hammond Stadium.
Encarnacion-Strand finished the doubleheader 3-for-7 with two extra-base hits and 4 RBI, and is now batting .357 to start his professional career. The Twins’ selected Encarnacion-Strand in the fourth round of this summer’s draft.
Minnesota’s second pick in 2020 also hit his first Low-A dinger Friday. Soularie went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI in Game 2, while making several difficult plays on the infield.
After the Mussels (50-46) lost Game 1 by an 8-2 margin, Encarnacion-Strand got Fort Myers on top with a two-out single to left in the first inning.
Still leading 1-0 in the bottom of the second, Kole McKinnon doubled to left before Justin Washington drove him in with a base hit to right. The next batter was Soularie, who parked a two-run shot to left to extend the lead to 4-0.
After Bradenton (60-38) rallied for two runs in the top of the third, the Mussels put the game away in the bottom of the inning. Patrick Winkel doubled to deep center to begin the inning. After a throwing error put men at the corners, Jake Rucker walked to load the bases. Willie Joe Garry Jr. then chopped a ball to first. Ernny Ordonez’ throw to the plate ricocheted off the catcher’s mitt before Winkel inadvertently kicked it to the backstop – allowing two runs to score to make it 6-2 Mussels.
Will Holland then dropped a double in the gap to plate Rucker and extend the lead to 7-2. With two outs, Hudson Head dropped a fly ball in left to allow two more runs to score and make it 9-2.
Encarnacion-Strand’s home run to left in the fourth capped the scoring.
Zarion Sharpe (5-2) logged five innings of two-run ball to earn the win, striking out two while walking only one. Right-hander Carlos Suniaga turned in two scoreless innings in relief, fanning two.
Box Score: https://atmilb.com/3gDAT4a