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Houghton continues tear in Mussels 6-5 loss to Hammerheads

By Staff | Apr 19, 2024

FORT MYERS – Maddux Houghton reached base in all four plate appearances on Thursday, but the Mussels fell one run short for the second consecutive night in a 6-5 loss against the Jupiter Hammerheads.

Over his last seven games, Houghton is 10-for-16 at the plate with three doubles, a triple, one home run, three walks and eight RBI. On the season, he is slashing .526/.600 /.947.

Jupiter (8-4) is now tied for the best record in the FSL East after taking each of the first three games of the series. Fort Myers (4-8) outhit the Hammerheads for the third straight day and ended the game with the tying run on base for the second night in a row.

The Hammerheads took an early 2-0 lead off of Mussels’ starter Jeremy Lee in the first after a bunt single and walk opened the game. The first run scored on a throwing error by Rafael Cruz before John Cruz delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Jesus Hernandez led off the top of the third for Jupiter and drew a walk to start the frame. Two batters later, Cruz connected on a single up the middle to put the Hammerheads ahead 3-0.

With one out in the bottom of the third, Houghton pulled a single to left field, ending a streak of seven consecutive batters retired by Jupiter starter Brandon White to begin his outing. Angel Del Rosario followed Houghton with an opposite field single to put two aboard for Fort Myers. After a pair of steals, the Mussels’ had two in scoring position with just one out. The back-to-back singles flipped the lineup card over to Byron Chourio, who delivered with a sacrifice fly to put Fort Myers on the scoreboard. Later in the inning, shortstop Brandon Winokur connected on a single to left, scoring Del Rosario to cut the Mussels’ deficit to one.

In the fifth, Houghton crushed a leadoff double into left-center to put the tying run in scoring position. Two batters later, Chourio would come through again with his second sacrifice fly of the game, tying the contest at 3-3.

Similar to Wednesday, the Hammerheads responded immediately after the Mussels’ forced a tie, retaking the lead the following inning. Catcher Sam Praytor put Jupiter back in front with a two-run double off of Mussels’ reliever Xander Hamilton, making it a 5-3 game.

Jupiter added another run in the seventh as Hernandez scored for the second time to put his team ahead by three.

The Mussels had some fight left in the bottom of the eighth. Rafael Cruz led off with a single to left. Houghton later connected on his third hit of the game, bringing Cruz across the plate. Del Rosario followed with a double, plating Houghton and making it a 6-5 game.

With Fort Myers down to its final three outs, Winokur led off the ninth with a single off Hammerheads closer Nigel Belgrave, who was able to retire the next three batters, ending the Mussels’ comeback bid with the tying run at first.

The Mussels return to action on today at 7:05 p.m for game four of the series. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.