Brevard Manatees Utilize Big 7th-Inning To Defeat Daytona 9-5
By Brevard County Manatees // June 27, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – The Brevard County Manatees (1-0, 30-40 overall) got their second half of the season off on the right foot Friday night coming back multiple times in a 9-5 victory over the Daytona Tortugas (0-1, 37-34 overall).
After the start of the game was delayed for one hour and 24 minutes due to wet field conditions, the Tortugas jumped out to a quick lead against Manatees starting pitcher Javi Salas in the top of the first.
Phillip Ervin and Alex Blandino each singled to start the game. After Robert Ramirez flew out, Chad Wallach hit a potential double play ball towards the third but Taylor Brennan misplayed it to load the bases for Taylor Sparks. Sparks promptly ripped a base hit down the right field line to score Ervin and Blandino to put the ‘Tugas in front. Salas recovered to retire Jeff Gelalich and Jon Matthews.
Daytona continued to tack on the top of the third as Ramirez worked a one-out walk after being down 0-2 in the count.
After Wallach struck out, Sparks would inflict damage once again, this time with a double to left, bringing Ramirez all the way around to make it 3-0.
The ‘Tees would mount their first comeback of the night in the bottom of the inning.
Omar Garcia lit the fuse with a bunt up the first base line that Tortugas starting pitcher Nick Routt could not field in time.
Chris McFarland then followed with a flare to left that fell just out of the reach of a sliding Blandino. Following a walk to Michael Ratterree, the bases were loaded for Clint Coulter, who brought home the first Manatee run with a bloop to left of his own as the Manatees played it station to station.
Garrett Cooper then laced a base hit to right to score McFarland. After Brennan struck out, Cameron Garfield came to the plate looking to keep the rally going. He would hit a ball back up the middle that Blandino snared on a sliding backhand but with the runners going on a full count with two outs, both Ratterree and Coulter scored to give the Manatees the lead.
The inning came to close shortly after that as Jose Pena popped out to first.
That lead would hold until the top of the sixth as the always dangerous Tortuga lineup came to life with the some help from the Manatees. Chad Wallach reached on a rare four-pitch walk by Salas and then moved up to second on a single by Sparks.
However, with Gelalich at the plate, Wallach moved just a little too far off of second base and Garfield’s snap throw to McFarland got him, the second straight inning where Garfield had picked off a runner. That sparkling play would be only a temporary relief as Salas walked Gelalich.
Tyler Spurlin would come on in relief and immediately coaxed a would-be double play ball from Jon Matthews towards the second base bag but instead went through the legs of McFarland and into center field, bringing in Sparks to tie the game.
Carlton Daal followed with a single to center that Garcia overran, scoring Gelalich and moving Matthews to third.
Spurlin would keep the deficit there as Julio Morillo’s grounder to first allowed Cooper to throw home and get Matthews, followed by a groundout to third by Ervin.
The deciding moment in the game would come in the bottom of the seventh as new Tortugas reliever El’Hajj Muhammad walked McFarland, Ratterree and Coulter to start the inning. Cooper would draw Brevard County level once again with a base hit to right.
‘Tugas manager Eli Marrero then called on normally reliable left-hander Joel Bender to try to stop the bleeding but Brennan immediately greeted him with a double to right center, scoring Ratterree and Coulter to break the tie.
After Garfield struck out, Pena doubled to the wall in left center to plate Cooper and Brennan to cap a five-run rally and put the Manatees in front for good.
Spurlin got an around the horn double play to erase a one-out single by Daal in the eighth and Preston Gainey recorded a perfect ninth inning.
In his first start since appearing in the Florida State League All-Star Game last Saturday, Salas gave up five runs, four of them earned, on six hits while striking out two and walking three in five and one-third innings of work.
Offensively, Coulter and Cooper each logged multi-hit games while Brennan, Cooper, Garfield and Pena had multi-RBI games.
The Manatees begin a seven-game road trip on Saturday in Bradenton against the Marauders. RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-1, 8.59 ERA) gets the start in game one of the four-game series against RHP Tyler Eppler (0-1, 6.43 ERA).
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 P.M.