The Palm Beach Cardinals’ five game losing streak finally ended on Tuesday evening.
Getting the start for the Cardinals on the afternoon was Matt Pearce, arguably the best pitcher in the rotation thus far during the season; he entered the game was a 3-1 record on the season.
Pearce, 22, would pitch a complete game against the Lakeland Tigers, while giving up five hits, zero runs, walking one batter and striking out six, including the last three of the game. The young right-hander wound up throwing 103 pitches on the afternoon, 76 of them ending up being strikes. Eight of the 27 balls thrown by Pearce came in the first inning alone. He took full advantage of the Tigers and commanded the strike zone during the game.
“I don’t remember the last time I struck out the side ever,” Pearce said, in regards to the ninth inning. “It was awesome to do it in the ninth and in that situation to help my team to a win.”
Palm Beach scored in both the second and third innings to take an early 2-0 lead, and eventually forcing Tigers pitcher Jairo Labourt (3-2) out of the game following a mere three innings. Blake Drake hit a lead-off double in the second inning, and after a sacrifice bunt, he advanced to third base. Making his return from the disabled list was Allen Staton, who drove in Drake to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, following back-to-back walks issued to Vaughn Bryan and Orlando Olivera, Drake hit a double to score both runs and made it a 4-0 Cardinals lead, as Lakeland continued to struggle against a team that had only won a single game in the month of May.
They were able to tack on two more runs in the eighth inning, as the rain began to fall in Jupiter, Florida, as they wound up winning 6-0, improving to 16-24 on the year, and dropping Lakeland to 22-17.
Ian McKinney will get the start for Palm Beach on Wednesday, and A.J. Ladwig will start for the Tigers.