Manatees Hold Off Thrashers, 6-5
By Brevard County Manatees // April 29, 2014
Manatees snap 5 game losing streak
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – With Logan Schafer joining the team on a Major League rehab assignment, the Brevard County Manatees snapped a five-game losing streak by defeating the Clearwater Threshers, 6-5 on Monday night at Bright House Field.
Schafer went 1-for-2 with an RBI double in his brief appearance. He also started in center field before being lifted from the game in the third inning for Jose Sermo.
Brevard County starting pitcher Jorge Lopez (2-2, 4.50) earned his first win since April 7, as the right-hander reached a season-high in strikeouts with seven over 5.2 innings. Lopez allowed five runs in total, but only three of them were earned because of a pair of Manatees’ errors. He also walked one and surrendered seven hits.
The ‘Tees trailed 1-0 early after a solo homer by Pete Lavin in the first, but the Manatees (12-12) struck back with five runs between the second and third innings.
Brandon Macias delivered the first blow for the ‘Tees in the second. With Nathan Orf on first, Macias laced a double down the right field line. Clearwater right fielder Nick Ferdinand bobbled the ball in right, which allowed Orf to cross home.
Later in the inning, Macias moved to third on a wild pitch and Mike Garza brought him home with an RBI ground out. Schafer’s RBI double scored Yadiel Rivera to round out the three-run second.
Tyrone Taylor wasted no time providing insurance in the third, as he led off the frame with a line drive home run over the left field wall. Cameron Garfield later singled and moved to second on a passed ball and Orf worked a walk. That gave Macias another chance to come through and he drilled a double down the left field line to plate Garfield. That two-bagger gave the ‘Tees a 5-1 lead.
Both Taylor and Macias went 3-for-4 on the night, with Macias recording at least two hits in four of his last five games.
The advantage felt secure for Brevard County, but a crazy play in the fourth pulled the Threshers (5-19) closer. KC Serna led off the inning with a bunt single to bring Lavin to the plate. Lavin slammed a double to left field and Serna tried to score from first.
The Manatees relay throw came to shortstop Orlando Arcia in shallow left, but Arcia’s throw slipped out of his hand and rolled toward first base. With nobody in the vicinity, the ball kept rolling. Serna scored easily and Lavin hustled around to score on the two-base error to cut Brevard’s lead to 5-3.
Clearwater inched within one run the next inning. Gabriel Lino led off with a single and Anthony Phillips’ sacrifice bunt moved him over to second. With two outs, Angelo Mora singled home Lino to make it a one-run ballgame.
Fortunately for the Manatees, they pushed across an insurance run in the sixth. After reaching on a single and moving to second on a ground out, Sermo tried to steal third base. Lino, the Threshers catcher, bounced the throw to third and it rolled into left field. Sermo crossed home easily to expand the ‘Tees advantage to 6-4.
The Threshers scored once more in the sixth and brought the tying run on base in the ninth, but Tanner Poppe shut the door with a strikeout of Lavin and picked up his sixth save of the season.
In seven appearances thus far in 2014, Poppe has not allowed a run or a walk and has struck out 12 in 10 innings of work.
Brevard County and Clearwater will continue their three-game series on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. It will be a battle of southpaws as left-hander Hobbs Johnson (1-3, 3.00) is expected to start for the ‘Tees against Threshers lefty Ethan Stewart (1-1, 1.47).