Brevard Bests Bradenton 3-1 in Series Opener
VIERA, Fla. - In just his third start of the season, Brevard County right-hander Austin Ross recorded a season-high eight strikeouts, as the Manatees defeated the Bradenton Marauders, 3-1 at Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Marauders scored in the first inning, but that was the only run they could muster off of Ross, in his six frames of work. Jeff Roy worked a leadoff walk and moved to second on his 16th stolen base of the year. Roy moved up to third on a ground out and then scored on a passed ball to give Bradenton an early 1-0 lead.
Ross would settle down after that, as he did not allow a hit through the first four innings and worked smoothly through a couple of jams.
The Manatees (30-28) led 2-1 in the fourth, but Ross faced the middle of the Marauders' order with runners on the corners and one out. He then proceeded to strike out Jordan Steranka and Jose Osuna to end the frame.
The Marauders (30-29) had a big opportunity the following inning, as well. Bradenton had Jin-De Jhang on third and Eric Wood on second with the 'Tees still leading by one run.
Roy hit a ground ball to first baseman Garrett Cooper who fielded and threw home. Brevard catcher Parker Berberet was waiting for Jhang at the plate, ran him down the third base line and tagged him for the second out of the inning. Ross then fanned Max Moroff, to finish the inning unscathed.
In the end, Ross (5-0, 2.56 ERA) allowed one unearned run over six innings of work. He gave up three hits and walked two, en route to his third straight victory.
Brevard County's offense helped Ross out early. After the Marauders took their one-run lead, Nathan Orf led off the Manatees' half of the first with a walk. With one out, Tyrone Taylor ripped a double down the left field line that scored Orf and tie the game. Nicky Delmonico followed with an RBI single - his first of two hits on the night - to put the 'Tees in front, 2-1.
Victor Roache and Yadiel Rivera helped the 'Tees add insurance in the seventh. Roache led off with a single and moved to third on a ground-rule double by Cooper, who made his return to the lineup for the first time since May 20.
Brevard had runners on second and third with one out and Rivera hit a chopper to Wood at third base. Wood's only play on the high-bouncer was to first base, which allowed Roache to score and give the Manatees a 3-1 advantage.
A pair of relievers helped the Manatees seal the win down the stretch. Lefty Mike Strong made his first appearance since May 23 and pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
After Strong finished, Kevin Shackelford pitched the eighth and ninth. He allowed one hit, but no runs and struck out one to pick up his second save with the 'Tees this season.
John Kuchno (3-5, 4.06) took the loss for Bradenton. He gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings. The Marauders' right-handed starter struck out two and issued two walks.
Brevard County and Bradenton will continue their four-game set on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium. The Manatees will send Damien Magnifico (3-4, 2.39) to the mound against southpaw Orlando Castro (3-3, 2.77) for the Marauders.
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