Mussels power past Threshers 7-1
Holland, Cavaco both homer in series-opening win
CLEARWATER – The Mighty Mussels used two home runs and a brilliant pitching performance from Sawyer Gipson-Long to power past the Clearwater Threshers 7-1 at BayCare Ballpark Tuesday.
Gipson-Long (5-4) spun a career-high seven innings, striking out eight while allowing just one unearned run on three hits. The Georgia native has worked to 2.78 ERA over his last ten starts.
Fort Myers (40-33) used a barrage of hits against Clearwater (35-37) starter Fernando Lozano (3-2) to jump in front early. After an error and a Jeferson Morales single, Will Holland clobbered a three-run home run to deep left to give the Mussels a 3-0 lead.
Still up by that margin in the top of the second, Nick Anderson reached on an infield single before Justin Washington walked. The next batter was Ruben Santana, who pulled a single down the right field line to score Anderson and make it 4-0. Misael Urbina then plated Washington on a sacrifice fly to right to extend the advantage to 5-0. With two outs and nobody on, Keoni Cavaco crushed a solo home run to left to cap the inning at 6-0 Fort Myers.
With Gipson-Long cruising on the other side, Fort Myers got a leadoff double from Santana to start the fourth. Urbina followed with a single to center to move Santana to third. Cavaco then grounded out to first. After the out, Threshers first baseman Rixon Wingrove threw to second – allowing Santana to score from third and make it 7-0.
The Threshers plated their only run in the sixth on back-to-back singles and a Mussels fielding error. Lefty Aaron Rozek covered the final two innings to close out the 7-1 victory.
Mussels game notes:
The Minnesota Twins promoted Mussels infielder Yunior Severino to High-A Cedar Rapids Monday. Upon his promotion, the Dominican Republic native placed T-2nd in the league in RBI (53) and T-4th in doubles (17). Severino also led the Mussels in hits (56). Even without a corresponding move, Fort Myers still has five infielders on the roster – four of which have played multiple positions.
The ‘purge’ is coming
The Minnesota Twins made 21 selections in this week’s MLB draft. Several cuts will have to be made across the organization over the next couple weeks in order for the draft picks to be accommodated for on active rosters. The Twins’ top two picks were high school players, but they then rattled off 19 straight college selections. Some of the 2021 draftees could find their way onto the Mussels’ roster by the end of July.
Playoffs are back!
Minor League Baseball announced that postseason baseball has returned for 2021. The two teams with the best overall records in the Low-A Southeast will compete in a five-game championship series at the end of September. The Mighty Mussels remain the defending champions – having won the league’s last title back in 2018.
— Recap and game notes provided by John Vittas