Brevard's Bats Quieted in 4-1 Loss to Flying Tigers
VIERA, Fla. - Behind seven stellar innings from starting pitcher Josh Turley, the Lakeland Flying Tigers downed the Brevard County Manatees, 4-1 at Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday night.
Turley (7-0, 1.86 ERA) remained undefeated with his seventh victory of the year, as he surrendered just one run on eight hits. The left-hander only struck out two, but he kept the 'Tees off the basepaths. Turley walked one batter all game and faced four or fewer batters in four different innings.
Brevard County (4-3 second half, 40-33 overall) scored its only run against Turley in the fourth inning, but the 'Tees were inches from scoring more. The Manatees were already down 4-0 at the start of the fourth, but Michael Reed roped a one-out double and Cameron Garfield followed with a single. Victor Roache then gave the Flying Tigers a scare.
The 'Tees left fielder got into a Turley offering and lifted it high and deep to left. Chad Wright ranged all the way back to the wall, reached up and made the catch with his hip on the fence. Reed tagged up and scored from third on the sacrifice fly, but Brevard County was dangerously close to pulling within one run. Instead, they settled for a 4-1 deficit.
Prior to that close call, Lakeland (3-4, 45-29) had feasted at the plate to take an early edge against 'Tees starter Chad Pierce. In the first, Wright reached on a leadoff error by second baseman Nathan Orf. Curt Powell then singled and Jeff McVaney plated the first run of the game with a double to score Wright.
After the double opened the scoring, Pierce walked Lance Durham to load the bases with nobody out. Luckily for Brevard County, Lakeland could not manage a hit in that big spot, but the Tigers produced back-to-back sacrifice flies by Connor Harrell and Austin Green to take a 3-0 lead.
The visiting side added insurance in the top of the third, as Pierce struggled with his control. The right-hander hit McVaney with a pitch to start the inning and then gave up a single to Durham that put runners on the corners. With nobody out and Harrell at the plate, Pierce uncorked a wild pitch that scored McVaney with the Flying Tigers' fourth run.
Thanks to Turley and the Lakeland bullpen, those four runs were all Lakeland needed to snap Brevard County's three-game winning streak. Calvin Drummond relieved Turley and pitched a scoreless eighth to set up the closer, Brennan Smith.
Smith promptly picked up his sixth save of the season without allowing a run in the ninth. The righty gave up a leadoff hit to Mike Garza, but then retired the final three 'Tees he faced.
Pierce (1-4, 4.05), who was making a spot start, took the loss for the Manatees. Of the four runs he surrendered, only two were earned. The right-hander struck out three, walked two, hit a pair of batters and surrendered four hits in three innings of work. This was the first time Pierce gave up a run as a starter this season and the first time he took home a decision as a starter.
Offensively, Orf was the biggest bright spot for the Manatees. He reached in four out of five plate appearances with two singles. The second baseman's 2-for-5 evening extended his career-high hitting streak to nine games. Orf is hitting .462 (18-for-39) during his current run.
Brevard County and Lakeland will close out their three-game set with the rubber game of the series on Thursday night. First pitch at Space Coast Stadium is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Thursday's game will feature a pair of hurlers who were just selected to play in the 2014 All-Star Futures Game on July 15 at Target Field in Minnesota. Jorge Lopez (7-3, 3.00) will get the call for Brevard County against Lakeland's Jake Thompson (6-2, 2.43).
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