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Mid-inning rallies lead Mussels past Marauders, 7-5

By Staff | Sep 9, 2023

FORT MYERS – The Mighty Mussels’ bats provided plenty of run support behind Matt Gabbert, who tossed a gem Friday in a 7-5 win over the Bradenton Marauders at Hammond Stadium.

Making his first career start at the Single-A level, Mussels’ (67-62, 33-30) starter Gabbert (3-0) tossed five shutout innings while limiting the Marauders (74-54, 39-24) to just one hit while striking out six.

With no score in the bottom of the fourth, Ricardo Olivar walked and Danny De Andrade singled to begin the inning. After a wild pitch advanced both runners to second and third, Nate Baez lined a single to center to score both runs and make it 2-0 Fort Myers. The next hitter was Rubel Cespedes, who corked a triple to right to bring home Baez and push the lead to 3-0. Alec Sayre followed with a sacrifice fly to cap the inning at 4-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, Jay Harry led off with a triple before Walker Jenkins was hit by a pitch to place runners at the corners. Olivar then sent a two-run double to left center to make it 6-0 Mussels. Later in the frame, Cespedes rolled a single to center to cap the Fort Myers scoring at 7-0. With two RBI on the night, Cespedes will enter Saturday leading the Florida State League in RBI with 74.

In the top of the eighth, the first three Bradenton hitters walked to load the bases. With no outs in the frame, Charles McAdoo looped a two-run single to center to make it 7-2. Two hitters later, Omar Alfonzo sent a hard grounder to right for an RBI single that cut the deficit to 7-3. The next hitter was Kalae Harrison, who landed a soft single to left center to cut the Mussels’ lead to three runs. Javier Rivas followed with an RBI single to left center to cap scoring at 7-5.

Samuel Perez then worked a perfect ninth inning to halt the Bradenton comeback. With the loss, Bradenton was eliminated from postseason contention.

The Mussels will get back in action today when they send Jose Olivares (3-4, 6.09) to the hill to counter Dominic Perachi (5-0, 4.67) of the Marauders. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. with coverage beginning at 5:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.