Brevard Tops Lakeland 7-1 at Historic Dodgertown
VERO BEACH, Fla. - In front of a packed house of 4,019 fans, the Brevard County Manatees defeated the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 7-1 in the inaugural Jackie Robinson Celebration Game at Holman Stadium at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach on Tuesday night.
Brevard County (8-4) got off to a hot start in the first inning against Lakeland's (7-5) Jordan John. After the 'Tees surrendered a run in the top of the inning, they came back with five of their own.
The rally started when leadoff man Tyrone Taylor hit his Minor League Baseball-leading ninth double down the left field line. Taylor moved to third on a groundout by Orlando Arcia and then came home on an RBI groundout by Cameron Garfield that tied the score at 1-1.
John then hit Victor Roache with two outs and followed that with back-to-back walks to Michael Reed and Garrett Cooper to load the bases. Yadiel Rivera forced in a run with his own base on balls and the Manatees took a 2-1 lead.
Nathan Orf kept the first-inning rally alive in unconventional fashion. With the bases still loaded, Orf dropped a bunt down the third base line. The Flying Tigers' defense could not make a play on the bunt, as Orf reached safely at first and Reed scampered home.
A two-run single by Brandon Macias capped the Manatees' outburst in the opening frame. Cooper and Rivera came home on the Macias base hit and Brevard left the first inning with a 5-1 lead. John was chased from the game after just 0.2 innings and eventually took the loss.
Manatees' starting pitcher Damien Magnifico (1-0, 2.89) took control of the game after he was handed a four-run cushion. The right-hander did not allow another run and only gave up two more hits before exiting the game with one out in the sixth inning.
After Magnifico's night was over, Brevard County added two more runs to pad its lead. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the 'Tees had the bases loaded with nobody out. Macias hit a dribbler up the third base line and Lakeland pitcher Brennan Smith bounced off the mound to make a play. Smith barehanded and flipped home, but his flip was wide of catcher Austin Green and two runs scored to put Brevard ahead by six.
Austin Ross and Stephen Peterson took the 'Tees the rest of the way on the hill. Ross pitched 2.2 scoreless innings before Peterson handled the ninth. The southpaw worked a one-two-three ninth inning to secure the win.
Lakeland and Brevard County return to Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday night to wrap up their series. The Manatees will send southpaw Jed Bradley (1-1, 7.71) to the hill to try to nail down the sweep. Bradley will be opposed by right-hander Jake Thompson (2-0, 0.00). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
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