Manatees Win Thriller Against Blue Jays 3-2
By Brevard County Manatees // April 20, 2015
Manatees Come Through In Extra-Innings
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – The Brevard County Manatees (5-5) weathered storms from the skies and on the field Sunday night to get their first series win of the season as Taylor Brennan’s single in the bottom of the 12th inning gave the Manatees a 3-2 victory over the Dunedin Blue Jays (5-6).
The Manatees were up against it from the start as Hiram Burgos walked the bases loaded in the top of the first inning thanks to a tight strike zone.
He would escape damage, however, as he struck out Matt Dean and got Emilio Guerrero to pop out.
Neither team would be able to advance a runner past second base until the fifth inning when Dunedin finally broke through. The inning started with a Mike Reeves single to center.
Following a strikeout of Major League rehabber Michael Saunders, Roemon Fields singled to right and would advance to second on Clint Coulter’s throw to 3rd. Dawel Lugo then singled to right to score Reeves and when Coulter overran the ball, Fields would come around as well.
With Lugo sitting on second, Burgos struck out Mitch Nay and Dean to end his outing. In his five innings, Burgos gave up one earned run on four hits, walked four and struck out eight for a second consecutive start.
As Clint Terry took to the mound in the top of the seventh inning for the ‘Tees, a line of thunderstorms descended on Space Coast Stadium and it became obvious play would be stopped soon.
Fields reached on a bunt single, and following a Lugo flyout to right, he stole second. Terry would bring the frame to an end when he got Nay to pop out to second.
As soon as the ball landed in Brandon Macias’ glove, the heavens opened up, the tarp was brought out and so began a rain delay that would total two hours and three minutes in length.
As it turns out, the break was just what the Brevard County offense needed. When play resumed, the Manatee half of the seventh started with singles by Garrett Cooper and Rafael Neda. Angel Ortega then got a bunt down and when reliever Brady Dragmire’sthrow to third was low, the bases were loaded.
The ‘Tees finally got on the board when Omar Garcia drew a walk. Chris McFarland then tapped back to the mound to start a 1-2-3 double play.
The Manatees would get a bit of luck when a Dragmire pitch went through Reeves’ legs behind the plate, allowing Angel Ortega to come home and tie the game at two. The inning ended shortly after with Brennan flying out to second.
The momentum would continue into the start of the bottom of the eighth inning as Coulter just missed hitting a home run for a third straight game.
His drive went off of the top of the right field wall and Coulter ended up with a triple. Dunedin reliever Jimmy Cordero would bail his team out, as he would strike out Victor Roache and Cooper with fastballs in the high 90s and induce a popout from Macias to keep the game tied.
Dunedin would have the first of several opportunities to take the late lead in the ninth inning with something of a two-out rally against reliever Preston Gainey. New left fielder Ian Parmley and Fields would draw walks but Gainey struck out Lugo to end the threat.
Ortega would reach with one out in the bottom of the ninth on an error by second baseman Christian Lopes. However, he would be doubled off when Garcia hit a ball to shallow center.
Fields would run it down and with Ortega having to go halfway between first and second, he had an easy throw back to first for the double play.
The D-Jays would threaten again in the 10th thanks to a leadoff double to left by Nay off of reliever Casey Medlen. Nay would move to third on a groundout to Macias by Dean. Guerrero then hit a dribbler up the first base line that Medlen fielded, looked Nay back to third and then recorded the out at first.
The inning came to a close when Derek Loveless grounded out to second.
After the Manatees went down in order in the bottom of the 10th, Dunedin would get a two-out single from Parmley in the top of the 11th but that would go by the wayside when Fields grounded out to third.
It appeared Brevard County that had victory in sight when Victor Roache doubled down the left field line to open the home half of the 11th, but a pair of terrific defensive plays by Fields in centerfield would stifle them.
Against both Macias and Cooper, Fields ran down a ball in the gap, stopped immediately and then unleashed a throw to the infield to prevent Roache from tagging up. When Neda flew out to left, 11 innings had gone with the game still tied.
The Blue Jays last chance started with a leadoff single to center by Lugo off of new reliever Stephen Peterson (1-0, 1.93 ERA). Nay would lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Lugo but that would be followed by the defensive play of the game. Matt Dean hit a rope towards left but Ortega made an outstanding diving catch to his right.
Seeing that Lugo was just far enough off of second, he immediately whipped a throw to a covering Macias to end the inning.
The Manatees seized the moment in the bottom of the 12th against Scott Silverstein (0-1, 3.86), who was starting his third inning of relief.
Ortega began the inning with a walk and then was erased on a fielders’ choice, allowing Garcia to reach first. McFarland then singled on a ball that died on the infield grass, moving the winning run into scoring position. That brought the responsibility to the bat of Brennan, who had not had a hit in his last 13 at-bats.
He’d rip a ball into center and when the throw home by Fields was slightly up the line, Brevard County had finally secured the win five and a half hours after first pitch.
The unsung hero of the night was the ‘Tees bullpen; between Terry, Gainey, Medlen and Peterson, the pen threw 7 shutout innings, gave up five hits, walked two and struck out six.
The Manatees will be back at the yard on Monday to begin a three-game series with the Lakeland Flying Tigers.
LHP Wei-Chung Wang (1-1, 9.82) will take be on the hill, looking to atone for a rough outing in his last start last Wednesday against the St. Lucie Mets in Vero Beach. Righthander Jonathan Maciel (0-1, 7.20 ERA) will get the start for Lakeland.