The Bradenton Marauders faced off against the Palm Beach Cardinals on Tuesday night, riding a three-game winning streak, while Palm Beach looked to inch one step closer to the .500 mark.
Getting the start for Palm Beach was their ace and team-leader in wins, Matt Pearce. Pearce entered the game against their rivals with the sixth-lowest ERA in the Florida State League, and he looked to extend his winning streak in the process.
Palm Beach struck first in the game, as Allen Staton hit into an RBI-groundout to make it 1-0 in the top of the first inning. But immediately, Bradenton answered right back. Jerrick Suiter hit into an RBI-groundout of his own to tie the game up at 1-1. From there on, Pearce completely shut down (and shutout) the Marauders, finishing the evening by going 7.1 innings, allowing just five hits, one run, walking no one, and striking out four batters.
It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning when the stalemate between the two teams was broken when Orlando Olivera (who went 2-4 with a home run and double) hit a solo home run deep to center field to make it a 2-1 Cardinals lead.
Heading into the ninth inning, Steve Bean (who went 1-4 in the game) added an insurance run for Palm Beach, hitting a solo home run to make it 3-1, which turned out to be the final score of the game, as the Cardinals improve to 25-27.
Bradenton drops to 28-23 as they saw their three-game winning streak snapped.
As for Pearce, he improves to 6-1 with a 1.87 ERA on the season.
Also, with the win, Palm Beach moves to within 3.5 games of first place.
On Wednesday night, Ian McKinney (3-3) will get the start for the Cardinals, as their late-season surge towards the top of the division looks to continue on against the Marauders.