Lopez fans eight, but 'Tees fall to Jupiter, 1-0
VIERA, Fla. - Despite a terrific start by Jorge Lopez, in which the starter recorded a season-high eight strikeouts, the Brevard County Manatees fell to the Jupiter Hammerheads on Thursday night at Space Coast Stadium, 1-0.
Lopez (8-7, 4.09 ERA) was tremendous over seven innings, but Jupiter scratched one run across against the right-hander in the fifth. With one out, Blake Barber hit a high-bouncing ground ball to second baseman Nathan Orf. The second hop soared over the glove of a leaping Orf and into right field for a single.
The next Hammerheads hitter burned Brevard County (19-17 second half, 55-47 overall). Justin Bohn laced a line drive into the left-center field gap. Barber scored all the way from first and Bohn chugged to third and slid in safely with an RBI triple to give Jupiter (12-27, 39-69) a 1-0 lead.
That triple was the only mistake Lopez made all night. Despite taking the loss, Lopez only allowed one run on four hits in his seven innings of work. The starter walked three and recorded at least one strikeout in each of his first five innings.
Lopez's most impressive frame came in the top of the second. After striking out the leadoff man, Lopez allowed Avery Romero to double and then walked the next two men to load the bases. The Manatees' starter escaped the bases-loaded jam, however, as he struck out Cody Keefer and Barber to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.
Brevard County had its best opportunity to score in the bottom half of that second inning. Jupiter starter Scott Lyman got the first two 'Tees to ground out, but then walked Victor Roache, Alfredo Rodriguez and Parker Berberet to load up the bases.
Greg Hopkins came up with a chance to give the Manatees the first run of the game and he came dangerously close. The right-handed hitter slammed a line drive, but it was right at the first baseman. Viosergy Rosa squeezed the ball in his glove and the Hammerheads got out of the inning, unscathed.
The 'Tees loaded the bases again in the eighth, but could not come up with a run. Orlando Arcia led off with a single and Tyrone Taylor followed with a double down the left field line to put runners on second and third. After Hammerheads reliever Reid Redman struck out the next Brevard County hitter, the Hammerheads elected to intentionally walk Mike Garza to load the bases. The move paid off for Jupiter, as Redman recorded a strikeout and a fly out to end the frame.
Once again, the 'Tees had a shot in the ninth. Berberet started the frame against Jupiter closer Sean Donatello by hustling to first to beat out an infield single. Jose Sermo came in to pinch run and Hopkins laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner up to second base.
Orf came up with the tying run in scoring position and hit a soft ground ball in front of home. Donatello fielded it and saw that Sermo had ranged far off of second base. The pitcher caught Sermo in a rundown between second and third, and eventually the third baseman Barber tagged him out.
During the rundown, Orf made a heads-up baserunning play and moved up to second base. That gave Brevard County another quality shot at tying the game with a runner in scoring position and two outs. Donatello, however, was able to strike out Arcia to end the game and seal his fourth save of the season.
Lyman (5-8, 2.89 ERA) picked up the win with six shutout innings. The righty only allowed four hits and left five Manatees stranded in scoring position. Lyman struck out two and walked three.
The Manatees suffered a shutout loss for the second consecutive night and settled for a 2-2 series split with Jupiter. Brevard County hits the road on Friday for another four-game set against a Florida State League South Division, as the Manatees prepare to take on the Bradenton Marauders. Austin Ross (7-4, 3.66 ERA) is scheduled to start for the 'Tees against Tyler Glasnow (7-5, 1.74 ERA). First pitch at McKechnie Field is slated for 6:30 p.m.
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