Lopez Masterful as Manatees Edge Mets, 2-1
VIERA, Fla. - Manatees' starting pitcher Jorge Lopez was dominant in the longest outing of his career, as Brevard County defeated the St. Lucie Mets, 2-1 on Tuesday night at Space Coast Stadium.
He took a stab at his first career complete game, but fell just short in a terrific outing. The right-hander pitched eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball and then came out to pitch the ninth.
Lopez (6-2, 3.17 ERA) did not allow a hard-hit ball in the ninth, but he did allow the tying run to reach base. He gave up a bloop single to Dilson Herrera and then an infield single to Gilbert Gomez to start the inning.
Kevin Shackelford came on to relieve Lopez with the game in the balance. The right-hander bent, but did not break. St. Lucie scored on a fielder's choice by T.J. Rivera that brought Herrera home. However, that was all that the Mets could muster.
Shackelford struck out the final two men he faced to end the ball game. He fanned both Jairo Perez and Cam Maron to nail down his first save this season since coming to Brevard County. Shackelford had also recorded one save for Double-A Huntsville.
With the win, Lopez has now been victorious in each of his last five decisions. He also tied St. Lucie's Matthew Koch for the Florida State League-lead in wins. Lopez pitched eight-plus innings and only allowed four hits and one unearned run, while walking two and striking out four.
Brevard County (26-24) scored both of its runs in the third inning. Jose Sermo led off the inning with a home run down the right field line, as his first long ball of the year gave the 'Tees a 1-0 lead.
Nathan Orf started a new rally after Sermo's home run with a double to right-center field. Orlando Arcia followed with a single and then Tyrone Taylor walked to load the bases. Two batters later, Alfredo Rodriguez hit a ground ball to second base that Herrera bobbled when he tried to throw to second base. That allowed Orf to score from third, to give Brevard a 2-0 edge.
Mets' center fielder and highly-touted prospect, Brandon Nimmo injured himself on Orf's double. Nimmo picked up the ball off the warning track and attempted to throw it toward the infield, but his ankle appeared to buckle and he fell to the ground. St. Lucie (30-21) removed Nimmo from the game and Gilbert Gomez played the rest of the night in his spot.
The Manatees and Mets face off again on Wednesday night at Space Coast Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Southpaw Hobbs Johnson (4-5, 2.94) will get the start for the 'Tees against righty Domingo Tapia (1-4, 4.42) of the Mets.
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Florida State League Stories from May 27, 2014
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