Brevard's Bats Quiet in 7-1 Loss to Palm Beach
JUPITER, Fla. - The Brevard County Manatees struggled to push runs across once again, as they scored one run on four hits in a 7-1 loss to the Palm Beach Cardinals on Thursday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Cardinals (21-26) were spearheaded by another fantastic performance by a starting pitcher. Left-hander Kyle Helisek (2-2, 2.62 ERA) was phenomenal as he allowed just one base-hit - a bunt single by Orlando Arcia in the fourth - over a season-high seven innings. The former Villanova Wildcat allowed only one other baserunner, when he issued walk to Nathan Orf in the fourth.
Palm Beach wasted no time jumping out to an early lead, as they scored runs in the first and second innings.
Breyvic Valera led off the ballgame with a walk and advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt and a fly out to right. Luke Voit then stepped to the plate and on a two-strike pitch, fought off an inside fastball from Manatees' starter Hobbs Johnson (4-5, 2.94) into center field for an RBI single to give the Cardinals the lead, 1-0.
The Cards pushed another run across with two outs in the second. Ildemaro Vargas singled to start the inning and advanced to second a wild pitch. After a line out and a strike out, Luis Perez stepped in against Johnson. On the first pitch he saw, Perez grounded one through the hole on the right side for a base-hit. Vargas motored home from second to extend the Palm Beach lead to two.
It wasn't until the bottom of the sixth when the Cards blew the game wide open. A single by Starlin Rodriguez and a walk to Voit put two runners on to start the inning, setting up a situation for a sacrifice bunt. Alex Mejia squared and bunted the ball right back to Johnson, but the starter could not make an accurate throw on to first. His delivery was low and in the dirt, as Mike Garza tried to make the scoop, but could not. Rodriguez hustled home from second on the throwing error to increase the lead to 3-0.
It would only get worse from there as Vargas singled to left to load the bases. That spelled the end of the day for Johnson as right-hander Kevin Shackelford - who was just added to the roster from Double-A Huntsville a day prior - was called upon to try and get Brevard out of the jam.
Shackelford forced Jesus Montero to ground into a fielder's choice, which brought another run home from third, to get the first out, but the Cardinals bats would continue to pounce. David Washington followed with an RBI double to right and with two outs, Valera blooped a two-run single to left to balloon the lead up to 7-0.
Palm Beach almost increased the lead further with a single by Nick Martini, but Tyrone Taylor gunned out Valera trying to score from second to end the inning.
The Manatees (23-22) would tack on their only run of the game in the top of the eighth inning off reliever Kyle Barraclough. Nicky Delmonico and Alfredo Rodriguez started the frame with back-to-back singles and with one out Parker Berberet delivered.
The catcher crushed a his first double to right-center field, to score Delmonico and cut the lead to 7-1. That is all that would come across as the 'Tees stranded runners at second and third.
Barraclough struck out Jose Sermo and Orf consecutively to end the threat.
Johnson, who had won his last two outings entering today, was saddled with the loss this afternoon. The Brewers' 14th round pick from a year ago issued six runs (four earned) on five hits, walked three and struck out three over five innings.
Brevard County will attempt to salvage the final game of this four-game series on Friday, when they wrap things up against the Palm Beach Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Tyler Wagner (3-2, 1.76) will try and end the three-game skid for the Manatees. Silfredo Garcia (0-1, 5.40) gets the call for Palm Beach to make his second start since being added to the roster.
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