Mussels drop aeries opener to Clearwater 10-5
FORT MYERS – After a 90-minute weather delay, Mighty Mussels pitchers walked 10 hitters Tuesday as they dropped their series opener with the Clearwater Threshers 10-5 at Hammond Stadium.
After Mussels starting pitcher Devleson Aria (1-2) recorded one out to open the top of the first, he walked his next two hitters and allowed a single to Gabriel Rincones to load the bases. Aria proceeded to walk the next three Threshers hitters to force in three runs. He finished his day allowing five walks over 0.1 innings.
After Aria was pulled for reliever A.J. Labas, Cade Fergus followed with a sacrifice fly to center, that brought home another run to make it a 4-0 Clearwater lead.
With the same score in the top of the third, Fergus singled before Erick Brito was hit by a pitch. The two then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. The next Clearwater hitter was Justin Crawford, who tapped a soft comebacker to the mound that pitcher Danny Moreno barehanded and shoveled to the plate. In attempt to apply the tag on the incoming runner, the ball glanced off Dillon Tatum’s glove to make it 5-0 Clearwater. With Brito at third, Boyd chopped a slower roller down the third-base line for an infield single that pushed the Threshers lead to six runs.
After Clearwater pushed across two more in the top of the fourth inning, the Mussels rallied with singles from Jorel Ortega and Dillon Tatum. Rubel Cespedes followed with a ringing double down the right field line that scored Ortega and made it 8-1.
Alec Sayre came to the plate next and grounded a single to center that brought in both Tatum and Cespedes to cut to Clearwater lead to 8-3.
After the Threshers rallied another run across in the top of the seventh, the Mussels answered back in the bottom of the eighth inning as Ortega singled and Mikey Perez reached on an error. With Cespedes at the plate, Perez took off for second on the pitch which drew a throw from Clearwater catcher Jordan Dissin. As the throw flew towards second, Ortega raced to the plate and scored to make it 9-4. Later in the plate appearance, Cespedes lined a single to right to bring home Perez and cut the Clearwater lead to 9-5. He finished the evening with two hits and three RBI.
The Mussels will look to bounce back today as they send C.J. Culpepper (2-2, 2.59) to the mound to face off against Clearwater’s Jonathan Petit (0-0, 4.76). First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Hammond Stadium with coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.