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Mets rally in ninth to topple 'Tees, 8-6

July 19, 2014 - Florida State League (FSL) - Brevard County Manatees News Release

VIERA, Fla. - Despite holding leads of 4-0 and 6-3, the Brevard County Manatees dropped the series finale against the St. Lucie Mets, 8-6 on Saturday night at Space Coast Stadium.

Ahead 6-5 going to the top of the ninth, reliever Stephen Peterson got Aderlin Rodriguez to fly out to right to start the frame. After Gavin Cecchini singled to right, Peterson forced Gomez to sky out to center for the second out.

However, it was all downhill from there. Maikis De La Cruz poked a single in front of Victor Roache in left to put the tying run in scoring position. The next batter, Jeff McNeil check swung at the first pitch and popped it up in the infield. With the shortstop Brandon Macias playing back with two outs, the ball dropped on the infield grass. By the time the former Kansas Jayhawk fielded the ball it was too late and the bases were loaded.

Phillip Evans, after not being in the initial lineup, came to the plate with a chance to be the hero for St. Lucie (17-9 second half, 57-38 overall). On an 0-1 pitch, Evans hit a flare into shallow left. Macias raced out and Roache, whose first step was back, charged in to try and make the game-ending grab. Both players slid feet first, yet the ball landed safely between them. Macias threw the ball back in from his behind, but by then it was way too late. All three runners had safely scored and Evans stood at first with a three-run single.

Beck Wheeler, who yielded two runs in game two of Thursday's doubleheader, then came on to close it out. He retired the Manatees in order in the ninth to close out the victory for the Mets.

For the second straight night the Mets charge from behind started in the eighth inning. Trevor Seidenberger came in from the bullpen to bridge the gap to the ninth.

De La Cruz sparked the rally with an incredible battle to start the inning. With two strikes, the Mets center fielder fouled off six pitches to stay alive. Ultimately, De La Cruz won the fight by striking a double down the right field line.

Unlike the hitter before him, McNeil wasted no time to incur his damage. The left-handed swinger cranked the first pitch he saw down the right field line for an RBI double to trim the lead to 6-5.

St. Lucie's come-from-behind win, put a damper on another great start by the Manatees offense. Once again, the 'Tees (15-9, 51-39) got on the board in the first three frames by scoring four in the second and two more in the third.

After Mets starter Matthew Koch (7-3, 4.61 ERA) retired the first two batters on fly balls, the Manatees bats came alive. Roache lined a single to center and Alfredo Rodriguez followed that up with an infield single that deflected off the pitcher.

Macias started the scoring by ripping a single into right field to score Roache and give the Manatees the early advantage, 1-0. The onslaught was not done, as Jose Sermo, last night's walk-off hero, grounded a single to center to drive home another run and push the lead to two.

Nathan Orf was then plunked, which loaded the bases for Michael Reed. The Texas native, who drove in two runs in yesterday's game, snuck a ground ball past the shortstop Cecchini and into center field. Both Rodriguez and Sermo scored, but Orf was caught off second base to end the inning.

After the Mets put three runs on the board in the top of the third thanks to a three-run blast to right by McNeil, Brevard County's hitters struck again.

Tyrone Taylor got it started with a single into right-center and with one out Cameron Garfield drove a single to right, which put runners at first and third.

Roache kept the attack in full throttle, as he lined a single into right-center field to score Taylor and bring the lead back up to two, 5-3.

Rodriguez then was struck by a pitch to load the bases. Macias brought home the 'Tees final run of the night with a fielder's choice. Cecchini fielded and threw on to third to get the force, Garfield scored from third to increase the lead back to three.

Lost in the shuffle was another strong outing from Damien Magnifico. The Florida State League All-Star went 5.2 innings and allowed four runs - three earned - on just three hits. Magnifico walked two and struck out three. The lone unearned run came on an error by Reed, which allowed St. Lucie to score in the sixth.

Brevard County will start a four-game road trip tomorrow, as they travel to Fort Myers to start their final series against the Miracle. First pitch at Hammond Stadium is slated for 4:05 p.m. Austin Ross will get the start for the 'Tees against the Miracle's Tim Shibuya.

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