Sarasota 2 at Clearwater 0
W: B. Jukich (1-0, 0.00); L: A. Cruse (0-1, 3.00); SV: D. Lutz (1)
HR: SAR: C. Strait (1).
Sarasota ace Ben Jukich blanked the Clearwater Threshers for 7 innings at Bright House Networks Field and Cody Strait put a home run ball over the left field fence to lead the Reds to victory in game one of the West Division finals.
Jukich walked 2 and stuck out 5 before giving way to Sean Watson and Derrik Lutz who finished out the game. Clearwater only managed 2 hits agains the Reds staff.
Andrew Cruse took the loss for the Threshers, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 4 in 6 innings worth of work.
Strait's yarder came at the top of 4th inning for the Reds. Chris Valaika also scored a run in the top of the 5th off Eric Eymann's sac-fly.
Ron "Bear" Hill finished off the game for the Threshers, allowing 1 hit and striking out 3 in 3 innings. Jason Donald and Matt Thayer were the only Threshers to record hits.
The series now travels to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota for games 2 on Wednesday. Zac Stott will take the start for Clearwater. The Reds will counter with Daryl Thompson.
Brevard County 0 at St. Lucie 8
W: J. Niese (1-0, 0.00); L: D. Welch (0-1, 3.38)
In the East Division finals, the St. Lucie Mets pounded out 8 runs on 12 hits, pasting the Brevard County Manatees.
Jonathan Niese allowed only 1 hit and walked 2 through six innings while striking out 9. Cole Gillespie tripled in the top of the 4th with 2 outs for the Tees, but Chris Errecart struck out swinging to preserve Neise's no hitter.
Victor Mendez scored in the bottom of the 3rd off a Hector Pellot single give the Mets the only run they would need, but there would be plenty of insurance, as the Mets scored consistently in through the next four innings.
Mendez was 2-for-3 with 1 run and 2 RBIs while Nick Evans was 2-for-4 with 2 runs and 1 RBI to lead the Mets. Catcher Sean McCraw and right fielder Ambiorix Conception were also 2-for-4 for the Mets, Conception with a run and an rbi in the contest. Pillot was 2-for-5 with 1 run and 1 RBI in the friendly confines of Tradition Field.
Gillespie was 2-for-3 for Brevard County; Darren Ford and Yohannis Perez had the other 2 hits for the Manatees.
David Welch suffered the loss, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 in 5.1 innings.
The two teams meet tonight in Melbourne for game 2, with Mike McClendon taking to the Spacecoast Stadium mound for the home team, while St Lucie will send right hander Eric Brown.