BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Marauders (32-30) held on late for a 5-4 win over the Charlotte Stone Crabs (30-31) on Sunday evening at McKechnie Field. Pat Ludwig (S, 2) stranded the tying run in scoring position in each of the final two innings to earn his second save.
Charlotte had Bradenton starter Chad Kuhl (W, 7-4) on the ropes in the first inning. Kes Carter doubled home two runs to cap a four-hit inning for the Stone Crabs and give the visitors an early 2-0 lead. Kuhl settled in after the first and struck out five batters on his way to his league-leading seventh win.
The Marauders scored four straight runs in the second and third innings to take the lead for good. Jonathan Schwind started the rally in the second with a one-out single to center off Bruedlin Suero (3-3). Eric Wood followed with a double to left-center that plated Schwind from first. Wood struck again during a two-out, three run rally in the third. Max Moroff walked, Josh Bell singled to right field, and Jose Osuna slashed a base hit to right to bring in Moroff. Schwind worked a walk to load the bases in front of Wood, whose base hit scored two and gave the Marauders a 4-2 lead.
Charlotte chased Kuhl with two outs in the sixth. Patrick Leonard doubled and Carter walked with one down. Justin O'Conner flew out to center, but Maxx Tissenbaum followed with an RBI single to cut the Marauders lead to 4-3. Josh Smith was summoned from the Bradenton bullpen, and proceeded to strike out Josh Sale on three pitches.
Jin-De Jhang extended Bradenton's lead back to two runs on the first pitch in the bottom half of the sixth. Jhang blasted Marcus Jensen's first offering out to right for a solo home run to give the Marauders a 5-3 advantage.
Smith pitched a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts before giving way to Ludwig, who whiffed three over the final two. The Marauders struck out 11 batters in a combined effort.
The two teams meet again on Monday night at Charlotte Sports Park. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast online at www.BradentonMarauders.com.