By: Justin Terry
The Palm Beach Cardinals (9-6) muster only four hits in a losing effort as they fall 4-2 to the Bradenton Marauders (7-8).
The Cardinals and Marauders faced off on Thursday afternoon in the rubber match of a three game series at Roger Dean Stadium. Blake McKnight got the nod for the Cardinals and tossed six innings of two run baseball, giving up 8 hits, striking out one and also giving one free pass.
The Marauders started the game like they did the previous night with back to back singles, but McKnight got Connor Joe to ground into a double play and then induced an inning ending ground ball.
Neither team did much until the third when Jeff Roy reached on a single to center field, but McKnight induced his second double play of the evening to end the frame. The bottom of the third started with Brian O’Keefe hitting a double to center, but was stranded at third to end the inning.
Connor Joe hit a one out single in the fourth and was left there as McKnight got the next two batters in the inning to fly out. The home half of the third saw Mikey Reynolds reach base after getting hit by a pitch, and stole second with Casey Grayson batting. Grayson then got Reynolds over to third on a ground ball. Blake Drake then plated Reynolds on a two out single to left field giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Pablo Reyes would get a two out hit in the fifth off McKnight, but would be erased on the third double play the McKnight would get Bradenton to ground into on the evening. The sixth inning is when Bradenton would take the lead and keep it. Kevin Newman would get a one out single to left and the Kevin Kramer would reach on a fielder’s choice. The Marauders would then put together a two out rally. Connor Joe would single allowing Kramer to get to second. McKnight would then walk his only batter of the game loading the bases. The Marauders would then take a 2-1 lead off the bat of Jordan Luplow as he hits a line drive double to left.
Neither team did much the next few innings until the ninth. The Marauders would put two on the board with another two out rally after Nick Frey worked a scoreless seventh and eighth. The Cardinals would then try to come back as Darren Seferina started out the bottom half of the ninth with a double down 4-1. He would then get to third on a ground ball out and then Mikey Reynolds would hit a dribbler back to the pitcher for the second out. Casey Grayson would then hit a single to left plating Seferina to cut the lead to 4-2. Blake Drake would then end the night out on a loud fly out to center field.
Despite the loss the Cardinals are still tied for first place in the South Division of the Florida State League. Palm Beach will play a road game in their own stadium tonight against the Jupiter Hammerheads. The Cardinals will be sending Jacob Evans (1-0) to the mound. First pitch set for 6:30 p.m.