Brevard Manatees Comeback In Late Innings To Secure Victory Over Lakeland 5-4
By Brevard County Manatees // April 29, 2016
Down 4-2 in the eighth inning
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Manatees (4-17) were down 4-2 and looked as if they might succumb to an early deficit.
But George Iskenderian led off the inning by getting hit by a Willy Paredes pitch, and Dustin DeMuth walked to set up first and second.
Lakeland made a pitching change, bringing in Edgar De La Rosa to face Fidel Pena.
On the first pitch that Pena saw, he squared and bunted the ball down the third base line. Pena beat the throw to first by De La Rosa, but the pitcher’s throw went wide of the bag. The error allowed both Iskenderian and DeMuth to score, tying the game at five.
Meanwhile, Pena advanced to second on the error, and was then able to steal third following a strikeout.
With Omar Garcia at the plate, a wild pitch went to the backstop then allowed Fidel Pena to cross home, giving the Manatees their first lead of the game, 5-4.
“Even beforehand I was thinking if we get to Pena, he was going to be bunting”, Brevard County Manager Joe Ayrault said.
“He is a very good bunter, and he laid down a perfect, well placed bunt. When he dropped it down I knew it was going to be a hit. A nice job by DeMuth, hustling through the play. He was coming hard and made my decision easy to keep sending him to score the tying run.”
After scoring the go ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, Pena once again came up big for Brevard County. Kade Scivicque, who had reached base in all of his previous three at-bats, grounded a ball up the middle. Pena dove to his left, recovered and made a strong throw to get the catcher at first for the first out of the inning.
Manatees reliever Tyler Spurlin then struck out Joe Pankake, and after giving up a single, got Wade Hinkle looking to end the game and secure the victory.
Pena advancing to third on the strike three, and then scoring the go ahead run was a big play.”
“The kid then came up big in the ninth inning, making the diving play to his left. He made some big plays for us late in the ball game,” Ayrault said.
Manatees starter Brandon Woodruff gave up all four runs, but only one earned. The Flying Tigers scored a run in the first, and then were able to score three in the third inning, one on a wild pitcher and two on an error.
However, Woodruff gave way to Kender Villegas to start the fifth. In his four innings of work, Villegas did not allow a single Lakeland hitter to reach base, striking out eight while picking up the win.
“Lakeland took advantage of some errors early on, but Villegas went in and did a great job.” Ayrault said, “He mixed his pitches very well, kept them off balance and us in the ball game.”
The win was the Manatees (4-17) first win since April 17 and the team’s first win at Space Coast Stadium this season.
“Any time you win a ball game, everyone plays to win.” Ayrault said.
“Our job here is player development, but of course winning that is a big priority. We had a lot of fun tonight and it was good to comeback in a ball game. Those are always the best wins when you comeback and win in front of your home crowd.”
Brevard County will head to Tampa over the weekend before returning home on Monday, May 2 to begin a six game home stand, in which they will play both Dunedin and Lakeland.