FSL: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels Hold On For 8-5 Win
After dropping their first game of the season to the Dunedin Blue Jays 4-2, the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, won on Friday 4-3 and on Saturday they scored eight runs and withstood a five run ninth inning rally to improve their record to 2-1.
Under the helm of skipper Brian Meyer, the Mighty Mussels won the 2022 Florida State League West First Half Division winners with a 41-23 record. They then went to the Semifinals in the league postseason, but came up a game short from advancing to the Finals.
Now in 2023, Meyer and his squad are looking at making it back to the postseason and beyond.
With Minnesota Twins second baseman Jorge Polanco rehabbing his left knee, he doubled in the first inning but was left stranded. The Mussels did not record another hit until the fourth inning, when Jorel Ortega lined a one out double to right field. After a walk to Rubel Cespedes, Andrew Cossetti flew out and Dalton Shuffield grounded out to end the inning.
On the other side of the ball, Mussels righty Zebby Matthews, making his first ever pro start, pitched a gem, tossing five shutout innings, allowing three hits, no walks, and struck out seven batters. Relief picthers Ben Ethridge, A.J. Labas and Jackson Hicks, combined for three shutout innings to keep Dunedin off the board and Fort Myers in the lead.
The lead came in the fifth inning, started by a one out RBI single by Ricardo Olivar, scoring Danny De Andrade, who walked in the inning. Polanco, who also walked moved up to second and then scored on a single off the bat of Carlos Aguiar. After Ortega struck out, Cespedes lined a single to left scoring both Olivar and Aguiar to make it 4-0. Next batter Cossetti singled to left moving Cespedes to second, then Shuffield hit his own line drive single scoring Cespedes to push the lead to 5-0.
In the sixth, the Mussels took advantage of sloppy defense and scored a run after a delayed double steal. Aguiar, who was on first, after hitting a single, attempted to steal second, with Olivar on third base. After the throw from the catcher went down to second, Olivar dashed home to swipe the base without a throw and put the Mussels up 6-0.
Two more runs in the seventh, after an RBI single from Shuffield and a wild pitch scoring Cossetti and Fort Myers led 8-0 after seven.
In the top of the ninth, the Blue Jays put together two out rally and scored five runs off Gabriel Yanezto to find themselves trailing by just three runs. Skipper Meyer then brought in Zach Veen to stop the bleeding and he induced a strike out to secure the last out and an 8-5 victory.
Mussels Stars of the Game
Ricardo Olivar – 2 for 5, 2 R, RBI
Carlos Aguiar – 2 for 4, R, RBI
Jorel Ortega – 2 for 5, 2 Doubles
Rubel Cespedes – 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 RBI
Andrew Cossetti – 2 for 3, R, Double
Dalton Shuffield – 2 for 3, 2 RBI
Zebby Matthews (W, 1-0) – 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 Ks