Ortega Leads Brevard County Manatees To Defeat Daytona 5-1
By Brevard County Manatees // May 2, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – In need of a dominant pitching performance after a heartbreaking end to their first game on Friday night, the Brevard County Manatees (10-10) would get exactly that as Jorge Ortega threw a seven-inning complete game in a 5-1 victory over the Daytona Tortugas (14-8) at Radiology Associates Field.
The Brevard County offense would do its part early on as Chris McFarland would leg out an infield single to start the game. Following a Taylor Brennan strikeout, Tortuga starting pitcher Jackson Stephens would get two strikes on Clint Coulter.
Manager Joe Ayrault would send McFarland on the pitch and Coulter would rip a double down the left field line, bringing McFarland all the way around to put the Manatees on the board.
The Manatees would put the game away for good in the second inning, which would start when Jose Pena singled with one out on the first pitch he saw in a Manatee uniform. He would take second base on a wild pitch by Stephens, who then lost Omar Garcia on a walk.
Both the runners would move up on a groundout by McFarland, setting up a prime spot for Taylor Brennan.
Brennan drove one to left center that would’ve been a home run on a less breezy night.
However, the winds blowing in from straightaway centerfield kept the ball in the park but it would be just beyond the diving reach of Tortuga centerfielder Phillip Ervin.
Pena and Garcia would score easily as Brennan wound up with his first triple of the season to make it 3-0. Coulter then brought him home with a single to center to tack on another run.
He followed that up by stealing second with Victor Roache at the plate.
It looked as if the inning would come to a close when Roache hit a routine grounder to third but Taylor Sparks’ woes at the hot corner in this series would continue as his throw to first was wide, allowing Coulter to score.
Stephens would escape the inning immediately after when he got Garrett Cooper to ground out. He would settle in after that as he and reliever Blaine Howell allowed just two Manatee baserunners over the final five innings.
However, the ‘Tees had already given Ortega all the support he would need.
Ortega retired the first nine Daytona hitters before allowing a leadoff single to Ervin in the fourth. That would matter little as it turned out because he would get Alex Blandino to foul out to McFarland and when Sebastian Elizalde tapped into a 1-6-3 double play, Ortega had still faced the minimum through four.
The ‘Tugas finally broke through in the sixth, as Carlton Daal was the catalyst with a leadoff single. Following an Ervin flyout, Blandino sacrificed to move the runner into scoring position. Elizalde would hit a grounder just beyond the reach of McFarland at second and into right field, bringing home Daal to make it 5-1.
The threat was extinguished immediately after when Chad Wallach flew out to right.
Ortega would finish with a flourish in the seventh as he coaxed a flyout by Robert Ramirez and then struck out Sparks and Jon Matthews to end the ballgame.
With that performance, Ortega improves to 3-1 on the season and lowered his Earned Run Average to 2.57 in the process.
The most impressive aspect of his outing was that this was his third consecutive start without issuing a walk, running his streak overall to 26 innings without a free pass.
The Manatees return home Saturday night as they’ll continue the series at 6:35 P.M. with RHP Hiram Burgos (1-2, 3.27 ERA) gets the start against Tortuga right-hander Nick Travieso (2-2, 3.38).
The matchup is a rematch from the season opener on April 9th which the Tortugas won 5-1.