Ninth Inning Rally Falls Short in 4-3 Loss to Miracle
VIERA, Fla. - Trailing by two runs, the Brevard County Manatees loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning, but could not complete the rally, as they fell 4-3 to the Fort Myers Miracle on Wednesday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium.
Miracle reliever Tyler Jones walked Garrett Cooper and Parker Berberet to start the inning. Brandon Macias followed by laying a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single to load the bases.
Jones then buckled down as he retired Nathan Orf on a fly out to center. Orlando Arcia would hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Cooper and to bring Tyrone Taylor to the plate with two outs. The center fielder hit a ball hard to third, but Niko Goodrum was able to make the play and throw on to second for the force out to end the game.
Fort Myers (23-16) got all the runs they needed when they put together a four-run first inning. After retiring the leadoff batter, Manatees' starter Jed Bradley (4-2, 3.20 ERA) struggled with his control.
The southpaw surrendered a single to Goodrum, followed by a walk to Jorge Polanco. After Polanco was caught stealing second on a double steal, Bradley let Dalton Hicks reach on a walk before hitting Travis Harrison with a pitch to load the bases.
Adam Brett Walker stepped up to the plate and proceeded to hit a high fly ball to right. Orf tracked it all the way to the wall before making a leaping attempt to try and keep the ball from going over the wall. However, the right fielder's attempt came up empty as Walker's grand slam put Fort Myers in front, 4-0.
Bradley would settle down after that opening frame as he did not allow another run or walk over his final five innings of work. The reigning Florida State League Pitcher of the Week scattered nine hits and struck out a season-low two hitters.
Brevard (20-18) would rally to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first. Miracle starter David Hurlbut (3-1, 1.62) allowed back-to-back singles to Orf and Arcia to begin the inning, bringing Taylor the plate.
With runners on the corners, Taylor hit a ground ball to third, but an errant throw by Goodrum allowed the Manatees to get on the board. Cameron Garfield would follow with a sacrifice fly to cut Fort Myers' advantage to 4-2, but that is all Brevard County would be able push across.
Much like Bradley, Hurlbut would not allow another run for the remainder of his outing. The left-hander allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out two.
Despite going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, the Manatees were led offensively by Taylor and Alfredo Rodriguez, who each had two-hit games. Taylor picked up his Minor League Baseball-leading 19th double and his team-leading 22nd RBI.
Tom Gorzelanny, who just joined the Manatees on a Major League rehab assignment from Milwaukee, threw two scoreless innings in relief of Bradley. He allowed one hit and one walk, while striking out one.
The Manatees will look to avoid the sweep when they take on the Miracle in the final game of the four-game series on Thursday night at 6:35 p.m. Brevard County will turn to right-hander Jorge Lopez (4-2, 4.11) who is looking for his fourth consecutive victory. Fort Myers will counter with right-hander Alex Wimmers (2-2, 4.00).
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