Toledo 8, Lehigh Valley 7: A seven-run first inning buried the IronPigs (29-25) early, with a comeback attempt falling short.
RHP Tom Eshelman (1-5, 7.06 ERA) retired the leadoff man but would then be tagged for seven runs and seven hits before being yanked. His ERA jumped over seven for the fourth time this season.
The bullpen gave Lehigh Valley a chance with just one run allowed the rest of the way and nine strikeouts total. That effort was almost enough to help upend the International League's best team.
RBI doubles from CF Collin Cowgill and RF Danny Ortiz, and a sac fly from 2B Trevor Plouffe made it 7-3 after one inning.
Cowgill (SAC fly) and Ortiz (ground out) added two more runs in the second, and DH Matt McBride's homer an inning later brought the IronPigs within one. But a run in the top of the ninth gave Toledo just enough cushion.
Lehigh Valley can spoil the three-game sweep Sunday at 1:35 p.m.
Reading 5, Richmond 4: C Austin Bossart smacked the game-winning single as the Fightin Phils (23-30) walked it off with two runs total in their final at-bat.
Bossart (2-for-4, 2 RBI) brought home RF Jan Hernandez (2-for-4), who had an RBI double to tie the game. An inning prior, Bossart also hit a solo homer to knot things up at 3-3.
The Fightins lead 2-1 heading into the eighth before needing rallies in each of the last two innings.
RHP Edgar Garcia blew the save but would go on to pick up the win (4-1). He gave up three earned in two innings of relief of starter Ranger Suarez. The 22-year-old lefty went seven strong, allowing just one run on five hits with two strikeouts.
SS Malquin Canelo (2-for-4) put Reading ahead with an RBI single in the third, and the team added a run on a double play the next inning.
Splitting the first two, the teams continue their four-game set Sunday at 2:15 p.m.
Clearwater 10, Florida 6: Three runs in both the fourth and seventh innings carried the Threshers (22-30) to the win.
SS J.P. Crawford had an RBI single to open scoring in the fourth inning, then C Henri Lartigue later added a two-run double. In the seventh, it was 1B Austin Listi hitting a three-run shot, his fifth.
Listi finished a perfect 3-for-3 with four RBIs and three runs scored. LF Mickey Moniak (2-for-4) was one of five others with two hits.
After a rough debut and follow-up, LHP Nick Fanti earned his first win (1-2) with Clearwater. He went six innings, a new best, surrendering only a solo homer and striking out four.
Clearwater closes out the series Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE (A)
Lakewood 7, Hickory 0: LHP Damon Jones' seven innings of three-hit ball and a 4-for-4 day for RF Jhailyn Ortiz highlighted the BlueClaws (32-23) shutout.
Jones improved to 4-2 with a 1.88 ERA, continuing to drop from 4.26 back on April 21.
Lakewood piled it on in the sixth with four runs, two each scoring on back-to-back hits from C Rodolfo Duran (single) and LF Josh Stephen (double).
Lakewood can win its fourth straight series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.