Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Fall in Back-and-Forth Series Opener

Special to Florida Sports Wire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Both Victor Mesa Jr. and Griffin Conine hit home runs but the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp fell to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 7-6 Tuesday at 121 Financial Ballpark. 

With the score tied at five in the eighth,, Luis Torrens singled with one out. After a strikeout, Jeter Downsdoubled to put runners at second and third. Pinch-hitter Kevin Smith drew a walk to load the bases.

 Caleb Durbin then brought home a run on a walk to give Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (18-9) the lead. Everson Pereirascored another tally on a hit-by-pitch from Jacksonville (16-12) reliever Devin Smeltzer (1-1), which gave the RailRiders a 7-5 lead. 

Jacksonville kept things close in the eighth. Jonah Bride led the inning off with a single. Following a flyout, Will Banfield tripled and plated Bride to bring the Jumbo Shrimp within one. 

However, Banfield was stranded as the tying run on third, as RailRiders reliever Anthony Misiewicz (1-1) fanned the next two batters. Phil Bickford then picked up his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre struck first in the opening frame. With one out in the first, Pereira singled to right. T.J. Rumfield and Oscar Gonzalez followed with singles of their own to load the bases. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Jose Rojas plated Pereira to give the RailRiders a 1-0 lead.

Jacksonville responded quickly in the bottom of the first. Javier Sanoja laced a one-out triple into the right field corner. With a runner at third, Troy Johnston was hit by the pitch. Bride brought home Sanoja on a sacrifice fly to tie the game at one.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre broke the 1-1 tie in the fourth. With two outs, Downs reached second on a throwing error. The RailRiders took advantage of the extra at-bat, as Josh VanMeter cracked a two-run home run to make it a 3-1 ballgame.

In a two-run game, Griffin Conine launched a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to bring the Jacksonville deficit within one.

In the seventh inning, the RailRider offense continued to impress. With one out, Durbin doubled to left-center field. Two batters later, Rumfield crushed a two-run home, making it a 5-2 game.

The Jumbo Shrimp quickly responded with a big seventh inning. Conine began the inning by reaching on an error. He advanced to second on a grounder one batter later. Jonathan Davis singled to right to put runners on the corners with one out. Victor Mesa Jr. then tied the game on a long three-run home run, bringing the score to 5-5.

Jacksonville and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre continue the series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. from 121 Financial Ballpark. LHP Braxton Garrett (1-0, 5.40 ERA) makes a rehab start for the Jumbo Shrimp against RailRiders RHP Clayton Beeter (2-1, 3.63 ERA). 

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