The Threshers played two different games in the span of nine innings. In the first game they ran out to a 6-0 lead in four innings against the Miracle’s top prospect, RHP Kohl Stewart. Then they went dormant for four innings as the Miracle mounted a comeback that tied the game. Dylan Cozens’ walk off single in the ninth finally ended the suspense.
Brandon Leibrandt scattered 4 hits and his first walk since May 13th over his first 5.0 innings. He defused Fort Myers’ only scoring threat in the second inning and struck out four. The Miracle finally got to Leibrandt in the sixth inning. A double and 2 singles ended his shutout bid and put runners on first and second. The next batter hit a ball up the middle that J.P. Crawford had sized up for a double play when the ball took a bad bounce into centerfield. After a hard ground out that Leibrandt deflected to Angelo Mora for a 1-4-3, Coach Legg came out to turn the inning over to Jesen Therrien.
Therrien faced 4 batters before he was mercifully removed from the game in favor of Cody Forsythe. Therrien began by giving up 2 singles and a wild pitch. After the two inherited runners scored, he bore down to prevent his own runners from scoring. He failed at this, too. He did get a fly out to center, but allowed another single and a run. Forsythe faced one batter to end the inning.
With Therrien’s help, Leibrandt’s final line was – 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
Therrien’s line was – 0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 2 of 2 inherited runners scored. For this he was awarded a Hold. This certainly devalues this stat if it is awarded for this kind of performance.
Forsythe pitched 2.0 innings before he was lifted. He was charged with a Blown Save when he allowed the tying run in the seventh. A leadoff drag bunt single and a hit-and-run ground out got the runner into scoring position. After a pop up, he scored on a line drive single to right.
Ulises Joaquin came on to get the final 4 outs and was rewarded with the win after Cozens’ heroics.
Crawford had several chances other than the bad bounce base hit and converted 7 assists and a putout. On a couple occasions, he displayed his rifle arm, throwing out runners at first.
The offense jumped all over Kohl Stewart early. The 2013 first round pick (#4 overall) retired Crawford for the first out in the bottom of the first on a 6-3 play that was very close. The Threshers used 5 singles by Andrew Pullin, Andrew Knapp, Cozens, Aaron Brown, and Mora plus an RBI ground out by Willians Astudillo to push 4 runs across in the first.
Clearwater struck again in the fourth. After Mitchell Walding lined out to first, Chase Harris lined a single to center. Crawford followed with a line drive just inside the right field foul line on a hit-and-run. Unfortunately, the ball caroomed off the stands to the right fielder and the Threshers had to settle for runners on the corners. Crawford stole his second base of the game before Pullin could drive a triple to the wall in right centerfield. Stewart got out of the inning with no more damage, but the Twins prospect (#6, MLB; #33, Top 100; #4, BA) was replaced at the start of the fifth inning.
The Miracle retired 15 Threshers in a row from the fourth innng until there was one out in the ninth. Then the ever-resilient Threshers got a one-out ground single to center by Harris. Crawford topped a ball down the third base line that refused to go foul and they had Harris in scoring position. Pullin grounded a single through the 5/6 hole and Legg had to perform jumping spasms to get Harris to stop at third. (The correct move, the ball wasn’t deep enough to score, and Legg had run Crawford into an out at home in the second on an ill-advised attempt to score on a Knapp single to roughly the same spot.) With 2 outs, Cozens lined the game-winning single to center.
Pullin went 3-5 with a triple and 2 RBI. Crawford and Knapp each went 2-5. Harris went 2-4 with 2 runs scored. Cozens went 2-5 with 1 RBI. Aaron Brown had 2 RBI. Everybody had a hit except Walding.
The Threshers are in second place, 5 games behind Daytona. They begin an important 3-game series in Daytona tomorrow. Kleven, Arano, and Leiter unless they need to throw a bullpen game in there due to the rain and double header this week.
The box scores for these games are here.