Manatees Break Out the Bats in Series Finale Against Clearwater, Defeats Threshers 8-4

By  //  May 21, 2015

The Brevard County Manatees’ (17-22) bats woke up in the middle innings to take advantage of defensive miscues by the Clearwater Threshers (19-21) to take the series finale, 8-4, on Education Day Wednesday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily)

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – The Brevard County Manatees’ (17-22) bats woke up in the middle innings to take advantage of defensive miscues by the Clearwater Threshers (19-21) to take the series finale, 8-4, on Education Day Wednesday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium.

It would be the Threshers who would take the early lead as Clearwater recorded back-to-back one-out singles off of Manatees starter Wei-Chung Wang in the top of the second.

When Wang followed with a walk to Drew Stankiewicz, the bases were loaded for Emmanuel Marrero in his first at-bat for the Threshers. Marrero singled to right to score Willians Astudillo but that’s as much as Clearwater would get as Wang buckled down by striking out Chase Harris and getting J.P. Crawford to foul out to left.

Clint Coulter
Clint Coulter

Brevard County would equalize in the bottom of the fourth with the inning kick started by a one-out double down the left field line by Clint Coulter.

Following a Victor Roache strikeout, Garrett Cooper socked a double of his own, the reward of an at-bat that saw him foul off several pitches with two strikes.

The seesaw would continue in the top of the fifth, this time courtesy of a two-out rally initiated by consecutive singles up the middle by Crawford and Andrew Pullin. Chace Numata’s double to deep center brought in both runners to put Clearwater back in front.

The game would be decided in the bottom of the fifth inning, which started with a Jose Pena double to left center.

Angel Ortega
Angel Ortega

Angel Ortega then hit a chopper towards short that Crawford booted, allowing Ortega to reach and Pena to move to third. The ‘Tees then cut the lead to one when Omar Garcia lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Pena.

Chris McFarland’s base hit put two on for Taylor Brennan. During the at-bat, Threshers starting pitcher Victor Arano uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the runners to move up. Brennan hit a grounder to second that was thrown away by Marrero on, what would have been, a close play at first. The error allowed two runs to score and gave the Manatees the lead that they would not relinquish. The play would also bring Arano’s day to an end as

Jesen Dygestile-Therrien came in to pitch. On the second pitch, Coulter delivered a drive into the bullpen in left field for his Florida State League leading ninth home run of the season to cap a five-run frame.

Brevard County continued to add to the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Garcia reached on a two-out fielding error by Astudillo at third base.

The inning was kept alive for McFarland, who would be presented with an RBI opportunity when Garcia stole second, his 13th of the season. Chris McFarland would make the sequence with a base hit to center, bringing Garcia around to up the lead to four.

Clearwater chipped away at the lead in the top of the seventh as Crawford led off with a single to center against Mark Williams and then advanced to third as Garcia overran the ball. He would score shortly thereafter when Pullin grounded to short.

Williams then gave up a single to Numata, coaxed a fly out from Dylan Cozens, a base hit to Astudillo, which brought the tying run to the plate in the person of Aaron Brown. He would escape further damage by getting Brown to ground out to second.

The Manatees would get themselves an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning, largely thanks to new Threshers reliever Harold Guerrero. He would walk Coulter and Roache to start the inning. Cooper followed with a fly out to deep right that allowed Coulter to tag up and move to third.

The nightmare continued for Guerrero as he walked Cameron Garfield to load the bases and then Pena, which brought in Coulter for the ‘Tees eighth and final run. Guerrero threw 18 pitches in just one third of an inning pitched. Just six pitches were thrown for strikes.

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Preston Gainey came in to pitch the final two innings for Brevard County, retiring all six batters he faced.

Coulter had the breakout day amongst Manatee hitters, going two-for-three with two extra base hits, three RBI and reached base in three of four plate appearances. McFarland recorded two more hits, bringing his Florida State league-leading total to 51.

Wang (2-1, 5.82 ERA) picked up his second win of the season by going five innings, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking just one. He retired 10 consecutive hitters between the second and fifth innings.

The Manatees now travel to Fort Myers for a four-game weekend series with the Miracle starting at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday.

RHP Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 5.34 ERA) will take the mound against LHP Brett Lee (0-2, 2.81 ERA).