Manatees Split Doubleheader
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Behind another phenomenal outing from Tyler Wagner (9-4, 1.71 ERA) and a pair of doubles from Tyrone Taylor the Brevard County Manatees defeated the St. Lucie Mets, 6-1 in game one of Thursday's doubleheader at Tradition Field.
Despite a two-hour and thirty-two minute delay before first pitch due to poor field conditions, Wagner showed no sign of rust. He stifled St. Lucie (15-8 second half, 55-37 overall) en route to his first complete game since May 8 of last year with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
The former Utah Ute did not record the high strikeout numbers that he had in his past few outings, but he was effective nonetheless.
Wagner was strong over all seven innings, allowing just one run, a solo blast by Eudy Pina in the third, on four hits. He struck out just one, but did not walk a batter.
With the victory, Wagner put himself in a four-way tie with teammate Hobbs Johnson, Bradenton's Chad Kuhl and Fort Myers' Jose Berrios for the Florida State League-lead in wins with nine. He also lowered his league-best ERA to an incredible 1.71.
Wagner finished his night with a flourish. He retired the final 11 batters he faced and 14 of the last 15, as he recorded his fifth straight win.
In his last five starts, Wagner has been untouchable. He has allowed a measly two runs over his last 34.1 innings which equates to a mind-boggling 0.52 ERA.
Wagner got all the support he needed when the Manatees (14-7, 50-37) offense exploded and set the tone for the rest of the game.
After Brandon Macias led off with an infield single to short, Nathan Orf followed with a single to left. Orlando Arcia attempted to sacrifice the runners to second and third, but his bunt did not hug the third base line enough. Mets starter and Major League rehabber John Lannan (0-2, 7.88) shot off the mound and threw on to third to get the force for out number one.
That brought Taylor to the plate, who made Arcia's mistake an afterthought. The 'Tees center fielder cranked a double into the gap in left-center field. Both Orf and Arcia scampered home and Brevard County had the game's first lead, 2-0.
After Pina's home run trimmed the lead to one going to the fourth, Brevard rallied back for two more in the fourth.
The rally began with a double to left by Mike Garza and a single to right by Alfredo Rodriguez, which put runners on the corners with nobody out. Macias would bring home Garza with a sacrifice fly to center to extend the 'Tees lead to 3-1.
Following an Orf single, Arcia drove home another run with a single to right to push the Manatees advantage to three, 4-1.
Brevard County pushed across two more runs with tallies in the fifth and seventh.
Michael Reed started the fifth with a triple to right off Mets reliever Seth Lugo and scored on a lined single to right by Garza.
In the seventh, Taylor drove his second double of the game and 33rd two-bagger of the year to left and raced home on a single through the box by Cameron Garfield.
The Manatees offense finished an impressive game with a whopping 14 base-hits. The 'Tees recorded four extra-base hits and four players - Orf, Taylor, Garfield and Garza - put together multi-hit nights. Garza's performance stood out most of all, as the Manatees first baseman pieced together a season-high four hits, which also tied a career-high.
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