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Fire Frogs return home to play Tampa after sweep in Dunedin

Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 5:00 pm

By Ken Jackson
Sports Editor

The Florida Fire Frogs seem to have found the flame that’s in their name.

It took a thrilling finish, but The Atlanta Braves’ Class A Florida State League team pulled off their first ever three-game sweep of an opponent with a 7-6, 10-inning victory over the Dunedin Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium on Wednesday.

The team is back at home this weekend, to play the Tampa Tarpons (New York Yankees affiliate) today and Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. The weekend is part of the Fire Frogs’ “Summer Bash” promotion.

The seven-game home stand continues Tuesday through Thursday with 6:30 games against Dunedin.

On Wednesday, Kurt Hoekstra singled home Christian Pache in the 10th inning for the winning margin, and reliever Devan Watts worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half of the 10th to preserve the victory.

Florida (19-23) used long balls to give starting pitcher Jeremy Walker a cushion, as Braxton Davidson and Lucas Herbert hit two-run and three-run shots in a six-run second inning.

Despite Walker’s solid start — six innings, seven strikeouts, three hits and a string of 11 batters retired through the fourth — the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead, and Dunedin (18-27) used a four-run seventh to tie the game.

The Florida Fire Frogs took both ends of a Tuesday doubleheader against the Dunedin Blue Jays with 5-1 and 6-2 victories.

Despite being no-hit by the combination of Angel Perdomo and Jake Fishman going into the seventh inning of the first game, the Fire Frogs strung together an attack against Jackson McClelland in the seventh to take the late lead.

Garrison Schwartz walked, moved up to second on an single off the bat of Braxton Davidson and Ray-Patrick Didder followed with a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out.

With one out Marcus Mooney flared an RBI single to shallow right to give the Fire Frogs a 1-0 advantage. The Blue Jays tied it in the bottom of the inning, but Fire Frogs responded with a four-spot in the eighth thanks to RBI at-bats from Hoesktra, Schwartz, Davidson and Didder.

Sean McLaughlin worked a perfect eighth to lock down the win. Kyle Muller took the hill to start the game and held the Blue Jays off the scoreboard through five-plus innings.

In the second game, Herbert and Didder both drove in a pair of runs and took a 6-0 lead in the fifth that would never seriously be challenged. Center fielder Pache and catcher Brett Cumberland added RBIs to pad the lead for pitchers Connor Johnstone and Justin Kelly (2-1), who earned the win out of the bullpen by holding the Blue Jays to just one hit over two innings of relief.