The Washington Wild Things couldn’t secure their second home sweep of the season as they fell to the Florence Freedom 8-5 on Sunday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Park.
Washington starter Luke Wilkins (5-3), who threw on three days rest due to Wednesday’s doubleheader, allowed five runs in the second inning to put the home team in an early hole.
The right-hander allowed a leadoff home run in the third before settling down to retire eight of the next nine batters he faced.
Wilkins then went back out for the sixth inning due to the use of the bullpen over the first two games of the series — 10.2 innings over the last two games — and gave up a one-out, two-run home run to Ozzy Gonzalez.
“We maybe stretched him a bit more than we should have,” said Wild Things manager Bob Bozzuto. “But again, he was rolling into the sixth. He gets an out then gives up a bomb with the wind blowing out.”
Jeremy Holcombe pitched two innings of relief and Matt Soren, who pitched in his second game for the Wild Things, shut down the Freedom (31-35) in the ninth.
The Wild Things (29-37) didn’t go down quietly cutting the lead to 6-4 in the fourth thanks to Maxx Garrett’s second home run in as many at-bats and a Carter Bell three-run home run.
Washington, again, cut into the Freedom lead in the seventh on a Garrett RBI single to reduce the deficit to 8-5. They could have produced more in the inning, but Austin Wobrock was thrown out at home on a chopper to third.
They had one more chance in the eighth with the tying run at the plate two separate times, but a double play and a strikeout ended the threat.
“We had our chances,” said Bozzuto. “We cut it to 6-4. I thought it was important that we just keep it there and unfortunately, we didn’t. Even at 8-5, we still believed we were going to win the game, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get it. They made a couple of nice plays and we fell a little short.”
Washington finishes their homestand 4-2 and will now travel to Traverse City for a three-game set starting Tuesday night.
“We won the series and took 4-of-6 against Florence this season and now we just have to continue to maintain it,” said Bozzuto.
(WAS) Wilkins (L, 5-3): 6 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K’s, 2 HR. 87 Pitches (52 Strikes).
(FLO) Gray (ND): 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 K’s, 1 HR. 41 Pitches (26 Strikes).
(Photo Credit: Washington Wild Things)