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St. Lucie rally in fifth downs Manatees

April 16, 2016 - Florida State League (FSL) - Brevard County Manatees News Release

VIERA - After taking an early lead the Manatees could not hold for the victory on Saturday, as Brevard County fell to the Mets, 3-2. The loss is the Manatees fifth in a row, three of which came in giving up three runs or less.

On the second pitch of the game from Manatees starter Bubba Derby, Champ Stuart skied a ball deep and over the wall in right centerfield, giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Brevard County rallied in its first at-bats of the game, as Johnny Davis led off the inning with a single. After a passed ball and base hit by Angel Ortega allowed Davis to reach third, DeMuth grounded into a double play that allowed Davis to cross the plate to tied the game.

The Manatees would then take the lead in the home half of the second, as George Iskenderian put a two-strike pitch over wall in right for his first home run of the season. With a 2-1 lead, Brevard looked poised to add to its lead in the third, as Davis and Ortega once again led off the inning with back-to-back singles. However, DeMuth lined a ball toward short, which was caught by Amed Rosario, whose throw back to second beat Davis to the bag. With now two outs, Ortega stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. However, Mets' starter Ricky Knapp was able Clint Coulter to pop out to end the inning.

With six of their nine hits in the first three innings, the Manatees took advantage of early opportunities. However, Mets' starter Ricky Knapp settled in, giving up just one other hit in his five innings of work.

By holding Brevard County at bay, the Mets mounted a comeback in the fifth. After a single by Luis Guillorme, Rosario knocked a double into the corner off of Zach Hirsh, who was in his second inning of relief of Derby. That gave St. Lucie second and third with no outs, and a fly ball hit by Michael Katz to center was deep enough to score Guillorme from third, tying the game at two. Tomas Nido then singled up the middle, allowing Rosario to score, and the Mets to take their 3-2 lead.

Knapp then held the Manatees in the fifth, while three St. Lucie relievers combined to give up just two more hits, while striking out eight the final four innings of the game. Mets pitching combined to strikeout 12 Manatees' batters.

Brevard County attempted to rally in the bottom of the ninth, as Omar Garcia started the inning by grounding ball through the hole between short and third. After a sacrifice bunt by Dustin Houle put Garcia on second, Iskenderian knocked a ball left, giving the Manatees first and third with one out. However, St. Lucie reliever Corey Taylor got Taylor Brennan to strike out swinging, and Jose Cuas to pop out to end the game.

Knapp picked up the win for the Mets (7-3), while Taylor knotted the save. Rosario, Nido and Patrick Biondi each recorded two hits in the game. Hirsch took the loss for the Manatees (2-8). For Brevard County, Iskendarian led the way offensively with the home run, while Johnny Davis picked up three hits in the game. Ortega added his two singles in the loss.

The Manatees will look to snap their cold streak, as they will once again play in St. Lucie on Sunday. However, Brevard County heads out on a eight game road trip take will finish its series in St. Lucie and then make stops in Lakeland an Clearwater. The Manatees will play next at Space Coast Stadium on April 26, as it will take on Lakeland.

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