Lopez Outduels Thompson as 'Tees Top Lakeland, 4-2
VIERA, Fla. - In a battle of 2014 All-Star Futures Game selectons, Jorge Lopez and the Brevard County Manatees defeated Jake Thompson and the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 4-2 on Thursday night at Space Coast Stadium in a rain-shortened, eight-inning contest.
Lopez's first seven innings were nearly flawless. He two-hit the Flying Tigers through seven frames, did not walk a batter and did not allow a single run.
Lakeland's only runs against Lopez came right before the rain fell in the eighth inning. Lopez took a 4-0 'Tees lead into the eighth, but Austin Green led off the frame with a single. Right after that, James Robbins drove an opposite-field home run over the left field wall to cut Brevard County's lead in half.
The rain would drown out any further chance that Lakeland had at coming back, as the game was unable to be completed due to heavy precipitation and lightning.
Brevard County (5-3 second half, 41-33 overall) built its lead behind Orlando Arcia's hot bat. The shortstop - who had five hits and five RBI two nights ago - opened the scoring with the bases loaded and one out in the third. Arcia hit a hard grounder up the middle that bounced off the mound and drifted to second baseman Curt Powell behind the bag. Powell could not make a play and Alfredo Rodriguez scored to give the Manatees a 1-0 lead on the infield single.
Two innings later, Arcia came up again with a chance to plate some runs. Rodriguez and Nathan Orf had knocked back-to-back two-out singles to start a rally. Arcia then delivered a line drive over the head of Robbins at first. Rodriguez trotted home, as Arcia cruised into second with an RBI double to make it a 2-0 game.
Orf went 3-for-4 on the night to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. During that stretch, he has recorded eight multi-hit games and is hitting .488 (21-for-43).
The Manatees tacked on two more runs in the sixth that proved to be the difference. Michael Reed began the inning with a clever bunt single down the third baseline. Nicky Delmonico then dunked a single into center to put runners on first and second.
With Victor Roache at the plate, both Reed and Delmonico took off on a double steal. Lakeland catcher Austin Green tried to throw out Delmonico at second, but his throw soared into center. Reed scored easily to push the Manatees' lead to 3-0.
After Roache flied out for the first out of the inning, Lakeland (3-5, 45-30) made a call to the bullpen and brought in right-hander Nate Fury to replace Thompson. Fury induced a groundout for the second out, but the reliever could not retire Parker Berberet. Brevard's catcher punched a single to right field that scored Delmonico and the 'Tees took a 4-0 lead.
Thompson (6-3, 2.75 ERA) ended up as the losing pitcher in the rain-shortened ballgame. He was charged with all four runs over his 5.1 innings of work. The Manatees tallied nine hits against Thompson and struck out twice.
Lopez (8-3, 2.93) earned his eighth victory to pull him even with Hobbs Johnson for the team-lead. The righty pitched eight innings and allowed two runs on five hits. Lopez did not issue a walk and struck out three Flying Tigers, as the 'Tees took the rubber match of the three-game series.
Johnson (8-5, 2.97) will get the ball for Brevard County on Friday at 6:30 p.m., as the 'Tees hit the road for a three-game series against the Clearwater Threshers (4-4, 21-55). Clearwater is expected to send righty Jeb Stefan (4-6, 4.63) to the hill.
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Florida State League Stories from June 26, 2014
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