Lopez Solid as 'Tees Top Cubs, 5-2
VIERA, Fla. - Thanks in large part to a stellar, seven-inning performance from Jorge Lopez, the Brevard County Manatees won their third straight game against the Daytona Cubs, with a 5-2 victory on Friday night at Space Coast Stadium.
Brevard County's starter turned in his longest and most effective performance of the season. Lopez did not allow a hit until the third inning and did not surrender another one until the sixth. Both times, Lopez (4-2, 4.11 ERA) induced double plays to erase the base runners.
Lopez's only two runs allowed were unearned after errors in the third and fifth. Daytona scored the game's first run after Lopez threw a would-be double play ball into center field. Brevard County (19-15) turned a double play right after the error, but Rock Shoulders scored on the play to put Daytona (10-22) on top, 1-0.
The Manatees' offense avenged Lopez with five runs in the bottom half of the third. After Brandon Macias reached on an error, Nathan Orf ripped a triple to right-center field to tie the game. Orlando Arcia came up next and singled home Orf with the go-ahead run.
Arcia made a big baserunning play to keep the rally alive in the third. Tyrone Taylor hit a ground ball to second base, but the Cubs could not turn a double play because Arcia slid in hard at second. Taylor was safe at first and scored two batters later when Cameron Garfield smacked a two-bagger down the left field line.
Victor Roache and Garrett Cooper also contributed to the Manatees' rally. Roache expanded the lead with a run-scoring single and later scored himself, when Cooper delivered a double to give the 'Tees a 5-1 lead.
Lopez took the run support and ran with it. He only gave up one more run when the 'Tees committed three errors in the fifth. Jeimer Candelario reached second base to lead off the inning when Cooper had trouble fielding a ground ball and threw away his throw to Lopez, who was covering the bag.
Candelario scored later in the inning when Cooper fielded a two-out grounder off the bat of Marco Hernandez, but Lopez dropped the first baseman's flip.
The Manatees overcame their defensive miscues and closed out the win. Lopez finished with five strikeouts and three walks, as he won his third straight start.
Mike Strong earned his second save with two scoreless innings in relief. Strong walked two, allowed a pair of hits and struck out three.
Brevard County will go for the four-game series sweep of the Cubs on Saturday night in Daytona Beach with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. The Manatees will hand the ball to southpaw Hobbs Johnson (2-4, 3.13), while the Cubs will send righty Jose Rosario (2-2, 3.81) to the hill.
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