DUNEDIN -- The Marauders (11-19) dropped a back-and-forth affair 6-5 to the Dunedin Blue Jays (18-11) Sunday evening at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Zack Dodson made his season debut for the Marauders, pitching five innings and striking out four. Dodson allowed three earned runs and did not factor in the decision.
Bradenton tallied first, with Dan Gamache singling to lead off the second and later scoring on Taylor Lewis' groundout. A Gamache error helped Dunedin answer in the home half of the inning to tie the score 1-1.
Alen Hanson singled off Dunedin starter Jesse Hernandez in the fifth, stole second and moved to third on an errant throw on the play. Gregory Polanco's RBI-single gave Bradenton a 2-1 lead.
Dunedin plated three in the bottom of the fifth. Jon Talley returned to the Dunedin lineup after a stay on the disabled list, and the 2012 North Division All Star made a splash with a two run homer off Dodson to put Dunedin up 4-1.
Hernandez and Efrain Nieves walked the bases full of Marauders in the sixth, and Bradenton was able to tie the game on a two-RBI hit by Hanson. Polanco took Nieves deep for his third homer of the season leading off the seventh inning to give the Marauders the lead 5-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, Zac Fuesser begin his third inning on the hill by walking Talley. Zack Thornton (L, 2-1) entered, and was unable to hold the lead. With two on and one out, Peter Mooney's RBI-single tied the game. Pierce Ranking, 4-for-36 on the season to that point, followed with a soft single that snuck into right field to give Dunedin the lead.
Scott Gracey pitched the eighth for Dunedin to earn his third win. Blake McFarland picked up his seventh save.
Polanco finished the night 3-for-5 and a triple shy of the cycle.
The second game of the series is Monday at 6:30 p.m. Adrian Sampson will be on the mound for Bradenton. The game will be broadcast live on www.BradentonMarauders.com.