Johnson's gem provides 'Tees 4-3 win over Jupiter
VIERA, Fla. - Starter Hobbs Johnson dominated and went a career-high eight innings, as the Brevard County Manatees won their third straight and defeated the Jupiter Hammerheads, 4-3 on Tuesday night at Space Coast Stadium.
Johnson (10-7, 3.15 ERA) showed a bit of rust after Brevard (19-15 second half, 55-45 overall) and Jupiter (10-27, 37-69) were delayed by rain and high winds for an hour and 12 minutes prior to tonight's contest, but picked up steam after the third.
After allowing a run on a bloop single to right by Justin Bohn, Johnson retired the next two batters to end the inning. That set in motion a streak of 17 straight Hammerheads sat down in order, which lasted until the start of the ninth inning.
With the Manatees ahead 4-1, manager Joe Ayrault sent Johnson back out to the mound in the final frame, as the left-hander looked to finish off his first career complete game.
However, it was not in the cards. Johnson worked full counts on the first two hitters, both of whom reached base. Bohn grounded a single to center and Colin Moran drew a walk to bring the tying run to the plate and end the lefty's night.
Johnson finished the evening with three runs allowed on four hits, walked two and struck out four. With the win, the North Carolina product tallied his first victory in the month of July and tied Tyler Wagner for the team-lead in that category with 10. They are both now deadlocked for second place in the Florida State League, as Bradenton's Chad Kuhl has the most with 11.
Scott Lieser came in to close out the victory, but had an auspicious beginning. The first batter he faced, Matt Juengel, crushed a ball into the left-center field gap. Bohn scored easily and Moran went to third, which cut the 'Tees lead down to two.
That was the only hit the Minnesota native would allow. After a sacrifice fly to right by Viosergy Rosa scored Moran and trimmed the lead to 4-3, Lieser shut the door on his second save of the year.
Juengel would swipe second base, but Avery Romero skied out to center and Chad Wallach popped out to second to end the ball game.
Despite holding the lead for a majority of the ballgame, the Manatees initially had trouble getting hits off Jupiter starter Matt Milroy (0-6, 9.43).
The right-hander baffled the 'Tees through the first 4.1 innings. In that time, Milroy struck out five hitters and allowed three baserunners, two of which were on hit-by-pitches.
Even with no hits surrendered, Milroy had a lack of control and began to tire in the fifth thanks to a high pitch count. After he plunked Garrett Cooper, the former Illinois star left a fastball over the plate to Brandon Macias.
The 'Tees third baseman crushed it deep to left-center for a go-ahead, two-run blast. His second home run of the year was Brevard's first hit of the night and it gave them the lead, 2-1.
That was the only hit Milroy would surrender, as his night ended after that inning. The righty pieced together his best start in the FSL, recording seven strikeouts in the loss.
In the sixth, the Manatees would tack on two more against reliever Casey McCarthy. Tyrone Taylor started it all off with a bunt single and a stolen base, but the next two hitters struck out. After Taylor swiped third, Victor Roache lined a base-hit into left field to drive home the run and extend the lead to two.
Roache swiped Brevard's third bag of the inning to put another runner in scoring position for Alfredo Rodriguez. The Manatees' captain clutch delivered again with a grounder through the middle. Roache motored home to push the advantage to 4-1, but Rodriguez was gunned down trying to go to second on the throw to the plate, which ended the inning.
Brevard ran wild again tonight with another four stolen bases against Jupiter's catcher Wallach. In the first two games of this series, the Manatees have tallied 10 stolen bases and have only been caught twice.
Reed swiped another bag tonight, which gives him a total of four over the last two nights. The former fifth-round pick is now the active FSL-leader in stolen bases with 27.
Damien Magnifico (7-5, 3.67) will look to win his third consecutive decision for the Manatees when he takes the mound at 6:35 p.m. He will be opposed by Jupiter's righty, Austin Brice (6-7, 4.14), who is looking for his first win since July 9.
• Discuss this story on the Florida State League message board...
Florida State League Stories from July 29, 2014
- Johnson's gem provides 'Tees 4-3 win over Jupiter - Brevard County Manatees
- Threshers Defeat Miracle, 5-3, on Wednesday - Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
- Stone Crabs Win 4th Straight - Charlotte Stone Crabs
- Lakeland Home Runs Doom Palm Beach - Palm Beach Cardinals
- Flying Tigers Return Home Friday for 8-Game Homestand - Lakeland Flying Tigers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.