Late error proves costly as Scrappers fall 7-6
Despite leading late, the Scrappers suffered their ninth defeat of the season Friday night, losing 7-6 to the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
Taking the mound for the Scrappers was righty Ryan Merrit. He turned in his best effort of the season in his last start, pitching six innings of shutout baseball with four strikeouts. He wasn’t quite able to match his effectiveness this time around, exiting after just three and two-thirds innings.
Merrit’s trouble started right from the outset, as he allowed three straight base hits to load the bases before he could record an out. He did induce a 4-6-3 double play, but traded a run in doing so. He had problems again in the third, putting runners at the corners without recording an out. An RBI fielder’s choice from Ironbird Roderick Bernadina allowed a second run to score. Merrit loaded the bases for the second time of the night on a single and a walk, but was able to work out of it the inning without further damage.
The Scrapper offense was able to pick up a few runs early themselves to support Merrit. In the second inning, the Scrappers loaded the bases when Charlie Velario and Aaron Siliga singled, and Joe Sever walked. Jeremy Lucas then delivered the Scrappers' first run on a sacrifice fly to right field. Erik Gonzalez followed with an RBI single to give the Scrappers a pair after two.
The Scrappers added another run in the third when Joe Wendle stole third after leading off with a double and scored on an errant throw from home. That gave the Scrappers a 3-2 lead after the third inning.
Merrit came back out in the fourth and again had the first two batters reach, on a walk and an error by shortstop Jairo Kelly. An RBI single from Bernadina allowed both runners to score, and gave the Ironbirds a 4-3 advantage. Merrit exited the game with two outs in the fourth inning. He ended with four earned runs on eight hits, three strikeouts and two walks.
Cody Penny relieved Merrit, looking to keep the game within striking distance. Penny was effective, pitching the fifth and sixth without allowing a hit and striking out one. That gave the Scrapper offense a chance to reclaim the lead in the middle innings. They did just that, pushing across a run in both the fifth and sixth innings.
The run in the fifth came when Wendle put up an excellent at-bat with two outs, tripling to right-center on an 0-2 pitch. Charlie Valerio made the two-out triple hurt, when he singled to drive in the run and tie the game. The Scrappers were then able to pick up an opportunistic run to tie the game in the sixth when Mark Bradley walked with two outs, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error from the catcher, and scored on a throwing error by center-fielder Bernadina.
Jack Wagoner was summoned from the bullpen to protect the lead in seventh. He made it through the inning unscathed, but ran into trouble in the eighth. He allowed a leadoff single to Roberto Ortiz, and then surrendered a home run to pinch-hitter Torsten Boss. That two-run blast put the Ironbirds up a run. They tacked on another run in the ninth, when Enosil Tejada sailed a throw to second that allowed a runner to reach third with one out. The Ironbirds capitalized on the mistake with an RBI groundout.
The Scrappers then entered the ninth trailing by a score of 7-5. They were able to make things interesting, scoring a run on a Joe Sever RBI single that scored Tyler Naquin. The mistake by Tejada proved costly, however, as they weren’t able to push across anything else.
“This club has been scrappy,” said Manager Ted Kubiak. “We got some stolen bases in good times, we just didn’t get enough hits and we gave up too many runs.”
Taking the loss for the Scrappers was Jack Wagoner, who also was charged with a blown save. Starter Bobby Wilkins was credited the win, with Jose Nivar earning the save. With the loss, the Scrappers lost the series and moved to 10-9 on the season. They will look to regain some of the lost ground over the weekend when the Connecticut Tigers come to town for a three-game set.