Bradenton Marauders score four in ninth for comeback win over Charlotte Stone Crabs

jlembo@bradenton.comMay 8, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Jeff Roy jockeyed off second base Wednesday night, but he had a feeling his stay there would be a short one.

Optimism hadn't exactly been permeating Bradenton's lineup lately. The Marauders entered Wednesday's game against the Charlotte Stone Crabs having lost seven of 10 and in the throes of a massive offensive slump.

Given what had transpired in the ninth inning, however, Roy was confident the Marauders' fortunes were about to change.

He was right.

A two-out single by Jonathan Schwind scored Roy and capped off a four-run ninth inning that sent the Marauders to a 6-5 win over the Stone Crabs in front of 863 fans at McKechnie Field.

It was a big win on many fronts. It kept the Marauders (17-16) from falling below .500 for the first time since losing the opener April 3; it kept them two games back of the Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League's tightly-bunched South Division; and perhaps most importantly, it could serve as a boost for a team that entered the night hitting .238 while scoring a league-worst 100 runs.

"We've been hitting the ball decent; we just haven't been having those big innings," said Schwind, hitting .327 with eight RBIs in 18 games this year. "It was just fortunate we had a big inning in the ninth."

After scoring two runs in the fourth, Bradenton's bats fell silent, mustering two hits in the following four innings. But the Marauders loaded the bases with one out in the ninth when Walker Gourley reached on a fielder's choice and Taylor Lewis and D.J. Crumlich followed with singles.

That brought up the speedy Roy, whose slow roller skipped under the glove of first baseman Patrick Leonard, scoring Gourley and Lewis and sending Crumlich to third.

"The first baseman had a lot of pressure on him with the bases loaded," Roy said. "I think my speed had a little bit to do with it. But it was our team just battling."

Adam Frazier, who had two hits, fell behind 0-2 against Stone Crabs reliever Parker Markel before hitting a slow chopper between home and first. With no shot to get Crumlich at home, Markel tossed to first to retire Frazier.

Roy, who moved to second on the play, slid home moments later thanks to Schwind's first-pitch liner to center.

"I've just been looking for my fastball," Schwind said. "I'm staying with my approach. It happened to be there, and I just put a good swing on it."

Robby Rowland and Josh Smith teamed for 3 2/3 innings of shutout relief, allowing two hits. Smith got the win, his first of the year, while lowering his ERA to 0.98 in 18 2/3 innings.

"I think it's huge. We've been battling," said Roy, tops on the team with 14 runs scored. "We've been on the road a lot. It's kind of tiring. ... Making a comeback win, hopefully the momentum keeps going for us. The pitchers are doing a good job, and the bats are coming back. You've just to keep plugging away. It's a long season."

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