Brevard Doomed Again by Mistakes in 6-0 Loss
VIERA, Fla. - A second straight night of defensive futility by the Brevard County Manatees, plus a terrific start by Fort Myers Miracle right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios led to the 'Tees being shutout 6-0 on Tuesday night at Space Coast Stadium.
The Manatees (20-17) committed four errors for the second game in a row and did not record an extra-base hit in the loss to the Miracle (22-16).
Berrios (2-2, 2.72 ERA) was particularly impressive in a season-high 6.1 innings. Fort Myers' starter held the 'Tees hitless until Victor Roache broke up Berrios' no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the fifth. Berrios only surrendered four hits, walked one and hit a batter in his scoreless performance.
The 19-year-old right-hander recorded his highest strikeout total of the year, as he fanned eight, including four in a row between the second and third innings. Of his eight strikeouts, five were of the looking variety.
Brevard County had its best opportunity to cross home in the fifth inning. Two batters after Roache singled, Yadiel Rivera slapped a base hit to right field and Nathan Orf walked to load the bases. Berrios ended the threat by inducing a ground out to second base to end the inning and keep the 'Tees off the scoreboard.
While Berrios was strong on the mound, the Miracle's offense was advantageous. They capitalized on four defensive miscues and six walks by Brevard County pitching to score their six runs.
In the second, Mike Gonzales worked a leadoff walk against Manatees' starter Damien Magnifico (2-3, 2.90). Travis Harrison then doubled to put runners on second and third andTyler Grimes ripped a one-out single to left that brought Gonzales home with the game's first run.
The Miracle took advantage of another leadoff walk and an error in the third inning. John Murphy worked a base on balls to start the frame. Shortly thereafter, Murphy caught himself between first and second on a pitch in the dirt. A rundown ensued and shortstop Orlando Arcia accidentally threw the ball off Murphy's helmet.
The ball ricocheted down the right field line and Murphy advanced to third. With two outs in the inning, Jorge Polanco produced an RBI single to put his team ahead, 2-0.
Fort Myers did not score again until the sixth inning, but when the road team did strike again, it was because of more walks. Polanco worked a leadoff walk and after a diving grab by Arcia for the first out; Harrison and Adam Brett Walker worked back-to-back four-pitch walks to load the bases.
The third walk of the inning was the end of Magnifico's night and Austin Ross came in to relieve. Ross got Grimes to fly out to right field, but Polanco scored on the sacrifice. The reliever induced another fly out to end the frame, but the Miracle led, 3-0.
Magnifico ended up taking the loss for Brevard County. He allowed three runs - two earned - on five hits. The big killer for Magnifico was in the walk column, as he issued six bases on balls. Magnifico also struck out three men.
The seventh inning was likely the toughest for the Manatees to stomach. Fort Myers struck for three runs in the inning to take a 6-0 lead and the Miracle did it on four hits and a pair of Brevard errors.
Murphy began the inning with a double and Aderling Mejia followed with a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. 3B Niko Goodrum came up next and singled to right field to score Murphy and move Mejia to third, but an errant throw to the infield by right fielder Brandon Macias allowed Goodrum to advance to second.
With the Miracle now leading 4-0, Polanco stepped up and hit a soft line drive to center field. Tyrone Taylor misplayed and dropped the ball, which allowed Mejia to cross the plate with the fifth run. Polanco was credited with a sacrifice fly and an RBI, but he advanced to second on the two-base error and Goodrum moved up to third base.
At this point, the Manatees caught a slight break on a Miracle baserunning mistake. With runners on second and third, Gonzales hit a roller toward third. Ross bounced off the mound, fielded the ball and threw Gonzales out at first.
Goodrum stayed put at third on the play, but Polanco ran toward third, as well. Goodrum was forced to run home and was thrown out in a rundown for a lengthy and unconventional double play. Polanco scored shortly thereafter on a double by Harrison to round out the Miracle's six-run ballgame.
The Manatees also suffered a tough injury to a key outfielder in the fourth inning. Right fielder Michael Reed tried to check his swing on a 1-1 pitch from Berrios, but dropped his bat and held the right side of his torso. Reed exited the game and Macias came in for the rest of the game to bat in his spot and play right field.
Fort Myers has taken the first two games of this four-game series from the Manatees, but the two sides meet again on Wednesday morning for a 10:35 a.m. start at Space Coast Stadium.
Reigning Florida State League Pitcher of the Week Jed Bradley (4-1, 2.77) will take the ball for Brevard County. The left-hander - who has now won the league's weekly award twice this season - will be opposed by Fort Myers southpaw David Hurlbut (2-1, 1.69).
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Florida State League Stories from May 13, 2014
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