(GAME DATE – Oct. 4, 2019) — The Metro League Elimination Round series between the 99-63 St. Petersburg Admirals, who took the East Division pennant, and the 2nd wild card Nevada Speeders, who finished 91-71 at 3rd place in the West Division, has seen the Florida team sweep away their opponent in 3 games, to advance to the MLCS.
The Admirals came out with cannons blazing in game 1, blanking the Speeders 6-0 as Jose Soto earned his 2nd career playoff win, in a complete game 6-hit shutout. Israel Medina, the St. Pete’s 3B, who joined the team in a May 30th trade that sent star pitcher Chris Zerkle to Calgary, hung 2 home runs on the Speeders pitching, one each to starter Al Mota and reliever Adam Fitzpatrick.
Game 2 would not be so easy for the Admirals. A flurry of home runs on both sides rang the score up to 11 runs in total. Medina tagged his 3rd of the playoffs, while C Bill Clark and 2B Julio Rangel had one a piece. Nevada’s 3B Jose Torres and RF Chris Huber added solo shots of their own. But it would be the Admirals who edged the Speeders to take the contest 6-5, notching up a blown save and a win for Admirals closer Ryu Saito.
It was a dramatic walk-off finish though, as the Speeders had just tied the game in the top of the 9th after Hugo Gonzalez scored on a 2-out, 2-0 wild pitch to Raul Abarca. Saitor might have earned the save, but he himself was saved in the bottom of the frame when Medina took Nevada’s Nate Kremer long down the left field line in a 1-out walk off solo shot.
The Speeders were bitterly disappointed to not even the series after having come so close, but they were charging out of the gate in game 3 as the series moved home to Nevada. In the first inning they quickly put 2 runs on the board before the Admirals answered in the 2nd inning. But the Speeders kept pace by adding a 3rd run, making it 3-1. But Alex Viramontes swatted a 2-run single against Nevada starter Danny Tirado, pulling the score even at 3.
It was an opportune time to even the score, as the Admirals had just lost starter Harry Ferguson to a forearm strain after the 3rd inning, and had to quickly get Jose Ramirez into the game in long relief. Ramirez held his own, keeping the Speeders to down to just 2 hits, no runs, while striking out 4.
Nevada threw everything they had at the Admirals, but all the air came out of their tires after Medina tagged his 4th home run of the series, another solo shot, that was followed by a pinch-hitting Howard Baker 2-run double. In all, the Admirals added 4 runs in the 9th, winning Game 3 by 7-3, and ending the Speeders hopes in a series sweep.
The Admirals will move on to play the winner of the Seattle-Arizona series, in which the Salts lead 2-1.