Lopez Blanks Jays in 1-0 'Tees Win
VIERA, Fla. - Behind another masterful performance by starting pitcher Jorge Lopez, the Brevard County Manatees shut out the Dunedin Blue Jays, 1-0 at Space Coast Stadium on Monday night.
The right-hander, who is now locked in a three-way tie for the league lead in victories with seven, baffled Dunedin (46-21) over seven innings. He scattered five hits and did not walk a batter in a start for just the second time all year. Lopez (7-2, 2.69 ERA) also struck out six Blue Jays, falling one shy of tying his season-high.
Lopez's brilliant performance did not require much help from his offense. The Manatees (34-30) scored the only run of the game off Dunedin starter Kendall Graveman (5-3, 3.42) in the bottom of the first.
Orlando Arcia ripped a one-out double to right-center and then advanced to third after a fly out to right by Tyrone Taylor. The following batter Nicky Delmonico, took a 3-2 pitch low for ball four. However, the ball squirted past the catcher Santiago Nessy and Arcia raced home to score on the wild pitch to put Brevard in front, 1-0.
Lopez also received plenty of help from his defense. In the seventh inning, Dunedin sparked a rally with back-to-back singles by Nick Baligod and Nessy to start the frame. Emilio Guerrero stepped in and smoked a line drive right to Arcia at second base. Arcia made the play, but got ahead of himself as he dropped the ball as he raced towards second base to try and double-up Baligod.
The defensive gem of the game came one play later as Gustavo Pierre ripped a line drive into right field. Michael Reed sprinted in and dove to make a gorgeous head-first grab to rob Pierre of a base-hit. Reed then staggered to his feet and made a strong throw on to shortstop Yadiel Rivera, who stepped on the second base bag to retire Baligod and end the threat.
Following Lopez's seven scoreless innings, the bullpen would finish the job for Brevard County's ninth shutout of the season. First, Martin Viramontes worked around a lead-off walk to throw a scoreless eighth inning. Kevin Shackelford then got out of a jam in the game's final frame to close out the victory and pick up his fourth save with the Manatees this year.
After singles by L.B. Dantzler and Baligod started the ninth, Shackelford struck out Nessy swinging and then forced Guerrero to hit a tapper to third to start a game-ending, 5-3 double play.
Mike Garza continued his hot hitting for the Manatees in the win. The first baseman went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles to raise his batting average to an impressive .295. Garza has now raised his batting average 62 points since May 28.
Brevard County will turn to southpaw Hobbs Johnson (6-6, 2.62) on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m., for the second game of their three-game set with Dunedin. Right-hander Ben White (3-3, 4.22) will get the start for the Blue Jays as he makes his first career appearance against Brevard County.
• Discuss this story on the Florida State League message board...
Florida State League Stories from June 16, 2014
- Wheeler Leads Miracle to 6-2 Win over Marauders - Fort Myers Miracle
- Voit, Tilson Lead Cardinals over Hammerheads - Palm Beach Cardinals
- Voit's Double Dooms Jupiter - Jupiter Hammerheads
- Lopez Blanks Jays in 1-0 'Tees Win - Brevard County Manatees
- Tickets for the Price of Gas on Thursday - Dunedin Blue Jays
- Josh Bell Named FSL Player of the Week - Bradenton Marauders
- FSL Names Pitcher & Player of the Week - FSL
- Star Wars Night Saturday, June 28 - Tampa Yankees
- World Cup Night/Food Truck Rally June 21st - Dunedin Blue Jays