Sanford River Rats win third straight

Alex Kline has a 1.22 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched this season.

Alex Kline has a 1.22 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched this season.

Isaac Babcock

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The Sanford River Rats have put together one of the longest winning streaks of the Florida Collegiate Summer League season, and now the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs are struggling to keep up.

The Rats entered last week already on top of the FCSL, but after edging the College Park Freedom in three straight games they started this week at 14-7 on the season and 7-3 in their last 10 games.

Those three straight losses must have added up to frustration for the Freedom, who lost all three by only a combined 21-16 run differential. The frustration peaked on June 29, when the Freedom took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning before watching it go away on a wild throw that turned a Demetrius Sims stolen base into the tying run. After two scoreless innings, a towering fly ball to center field let the Rats’ Einar Muniz score from third in the bottom of the 12th to end it all.

That loss would be the fourth straight for the Freedom.

Meanwhile the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs were avenging a 5-3 loss to the DeLand Suns with two straight wins. Both of those, back-to-back on June 29, started and ended as blowouts.

In the first, Daniel Sweet blasted a double to lead off the game. Two batters later Tagg Duce smashed his 10th double of the season. Devin Raftery struck out nine and gave up just two hits in five innings for the 6-2 win.

In the second game Duce blasted yet another double and gave his team a margin that would never narrow, ending 4-1. Devin Pellien gave up just a run on four hits in five innings work to grab the win.

The Dawgs and Rats played a pair of games each during press time. At 7 p.m. July 3 the Dawgs will host the Winter Garden Squeeze at Alfond Stadium. The Rats host the DeLand Suns at 7 p.m. the same night. At 1 p.m. July 6 the Rats host the Squeeze at Sanford Memorial Stadium. At the same time the Dawgs host the Lightning at home.

The annual FCSL All-Star Game starts at 6 p.m. July 8 at Sanford Memorial Stadium with a Home Run Derby, followed by the game at 7 p.m.