Stone Crabs Defeat 'Tees in Opener, 6-2
VIERA, Fla. - Despite racking up 10 hits, the Brevard County Manatees dropped their series opener against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, 6-2 on Friday night at Space Coast Stadium.
Stone Crabs starting pitcher Austin Pruitt (5-4, 4.18 ERA) did an excellent job of working through tough situations en route to his fifth win of the season. The right-hander scattered seven hits and two walks over seven shutout innings.
Charlotte's (7-15 second half, 38-51 overall) offense struck early and often, as they tallied runs in each of the first four innings.
Tommy Coyle led the charge in the first by ripping a single to center and then stealing second base. With two outs, Justin O'Conner cranked a single into right-center field to score Coyle and give Charlotte the early lead, 1-0.
In the second it was Julian Ridings who provided the offense for the visitors. After Manatees starter Chad Pierce (2-5, 4.32) retired the first two batters of the frame, Ariel Soriano laced a double down the left field line. It was then Ridings who made Pierce pay. The left-handed swinger crushed a home run off the second level of advertisements in right field for a two-run jack to give Charlotte a three-run cushion.
The Stone Crabs tacked on another run in the third. Patrick Leonard and Maxx Tissenbaum sparked the rally with a pair of singles to put runners at first and second with one out. Tyler Goeddel then followed with a line-drive single to left-center field to score Leonard to give Charlotte a 4-0 lead.
Again, it was Coyle who got the wheels churning on another Stone Crabs rally in the fourth. The North Carolina product smacked a double down the right field line and advanced to third on a ground out by Leonardo Reginatto. Leonard then drove Coyle home with a sacrifice fly to put Charlotte safely in front, 5-0.
The Stone Crabs tacked on their final run in the seventh inning. With reliever Mike Strong now in the ball game, Reginatto led off the frame with a double down the right field line. After Leonard struck out, O'Conner hit a ground ball deep into the hole at short. Orlando Arcia made a tremendous backhand stop, which caught Reginatto dead in his tracks between second and third. However, Arcia's off-balance throw to second was low and snuck underneath the glove of Nathan Orf and into right field. That allowed Reginatto to score all the way from second and push Charlotte's advantage to 6-0.
Brevard's (11-7, 47-37) bats came through in the eighth, but it was a case of too little, too late. Tyrone Taylor started the charge with a pop fly to shallow center that Ariel Soriano could not find. The ball dropped in safely and Taylor ended up at second base with his 30 th double of the year.
Cameron Garfield followed with an RBI double to right and Mike Garza snuck a soft line drive over the head of the shortstop Reginatto for a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 6-2. The comeback ended there, as Alfredo Rodriguez struck out the end the inning.
Pierce took his fifth loss of the year in the spot start. He allowed five runs on nine hits in four innings of work. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
Strong had another impressive outing out of the bullpen. The left-hander allowed just one unearned run over three frames. He allowed two hits and struck out three. With tonight's performance, Strong has not allowed an earned run in his last 11.2 innings.
The Manatees will look to get back in the win column tomorrow night, as they take on the Stone Crabs again at Space Coast Stadium with first pitch slated for 6:35 p.m. Hobbs Johnson (9-6, 3.23), who had his start on Thursday pushed back due to rain, will look to record his FSL-best 10th win of the year. Reinaldo Lopez (4-4, 3.97) will toe the rubber tomorrow evening for Charlotte.
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