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'Tees Rally in Ninth to Walk-Off Charlotte, 2-1

July 12, 2014 - Florida State League (FSL) - Brevard County Manatees News Release

VIERA, Fla. - It took until July 12, but the Brevard County Manatees finally recorded their first walk-off win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Charlotte Stone Crabs on Saturday night at Space Coast Stadium.

It all started with Tyrone Taylor in the bottom of the ninth inning. Trailing 1-0, Taylor smacked a deep fly ball to straight away center field. Ariel Soriano chased it all the way to the warning track, but the ball landed over his head for a lead-off double.

The next batter, Cameron Garfield, wasted no time in tying the ballgame. The 'Tees catcher demolished a ball to roughly the same spot as Taylor. Once again, the ball tailed over the head of Soriano. Taylor scored easily and Garfield motored into third with an RBI triple.

Stone Crabs reliever Kevin Brandt then issued an intentional walk to Victor Roache. With runners now at first and third, Brandt elected to pitch to Mike Garza.

The move paid off, as Garza hit a slow tapper back to the mound. Roache advanced to second, but Garza was retired for out number one.

Instead of giving Alfredo Rodriguez a free pass to load the bases and create a force at every base, Brandt chose to pitch to him, as well. With the infield in, Rodriguez hit a ground ball into the hole between third and short. Leonardo Reginatto made a backhand stop to keep the ball in the infield, but his throw to the plate was high and Garfield slid in safely to score the game-winning run.

The walk-off victory was the first by the Manatees (12-7 second half, 48-37 overall) since T.J. Mittelstaedt hit a walk-off home run to defeat the Jupiter Hammerheads on June 10 of last year.

Charlotte (7-16, 38-52) grabbed the lead in the eighth inning, but not without some controversy.

With two outs, reliever Stephen Peterson faced off against Josh Sale. The left-handed hitter poked a high fly ball to deep right-center field that Taylor chased all the way to the wall. He leaped to make the catch, but came up short, as he banged into the padding. Michael Reed scurried to get the ball back into the infield, but Sale was already standing at third.

The play created confusion, with both teams unsure of whether or not the ball cleared the fence. Base umpire Josh Winter took charge and ruled that it was indeed a home run. Brevard County manager Joe Ayrault came out to argue the call, but it was to no avail. Ayrault was ejected and the Stone Crabs had a 1-0 lead.

Both starters were phenomenal, but neither factored into the decision.

After two-plus weeks of rest, Hobbs Johnson (9-6, 3.01 ERA) showed no rust and was stellar for the Manatees. The left-hander shutout the Stone Crabs over six innings and allowed just two base-hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

Unfortunately, Johnson's night ended prematurely. After throwing his warmup pitches in the top of the seventh, he was removed from the ballgame with apparent heat prostration.

Charlotte's starter Reinaldo Lopez (4-4, 3.69) matched Johnson every step of the way. He yielded just four hits and two walks over seven scoreless frames.

The Manatees will look to ride the momentum of tonight's victory into another matchup with the Stone Crabs tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium. Damien Magnifico (5-5, 3.95) will try and shake off a rough outing in his last start against fellow right-hander Marcus Jensen (3-3, 3.05).

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