FORT MYERS, Fla. — After falling behind early, the Mighty Mussels fought back to take the lead Thursday, pitching their way to the finish in a 4-2 win over the Bradenton Marauders at Hammond Stadium.
After both starting pitchers dominated early, the Marauders broke through in the top of the third against Mussels starter Sean Mooney. Hudson Head led off the frame with a single to left. After he advanced to second on a groundout, Abrahan Gutierrez reached base on a Fort Myers fielding error. Mooney then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Head to score and make it 1-0. With Gutierrez at second and two outs, Endy Rodriguez pulled a base hit into right to extend the Marauder advantage to 2-0.
Mooney finished the night with a career-high 10 strikeouts, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits over four innings.
Trailing by that margin in the bottom of the third, Jake Rucker walked before stealing second base. Willie Joe Garry Jr. then rolled a grounder out to short, which Maikol Escotto threw against the Marauders dugout, allowing Rucker to score and make it 2-1.
With Fort Myers trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Charles Mack reached base on a dropped third strike before Misael Urbina singled him to second. The next batter was Rucker, who lined a ball to right which Head couldn’t quite get to. The ball bounced to the wall, scoring both runners to give Fort Myers a 3-2 lead. Rucker then scored on a wild pitch to cap the scoring at 4-2.
The Mighty Mussels leaned on two relatively inexperienced relievers to cover the final five innings. Both Logan Campbell (1-0) and Zaquiel Puentes stepped up. Campbell went 2.2 innings of scoreless baseball to earn his first professional win, and Puentes got the final five outs to notch his first save of the season.
With the Mussels ahead in the series 2-1, the teams will meet for a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. John Stankiewicz (0-0, 3.86) and Zarion Sharpe (4-2, 3.59) are scheduled to pitch for Fort Myers, while Luis Ortiz (3-3, 3.15) and Jared Jones (3-2, 3.59) will go for Bradenton.
Recap provided by Mighty Mussels press office.