'Tees Shutout 3-0 by Flying Tigers
LAKELAND, Fla. - The Brevard County Manatees could not overcome an early deficit on Thursday morning and fell 3-0 to the Lakeland Flying Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Manatees (33-30) and Flying Tigers were scheduled to play a doubleheader, but game two was cancelled due to rain. In the lone game of the day, Lakeland rode to victory on the back of some early runs and a strong pitching performance by starter Yorfrank Lopez.
Lakeland (41-24) struck early off of Brevard County starting pitcher Austin Ross, though the right-hander limited the damage. Ross walked Chad Wright and Jeff McVaney in the first, which led to back-to-back RBI singles by Lance Durham and Connor Harrell. Those timely hits gave the Flying Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Ross (5-1, 2.79 ERA) pitched scoreless baseball in the second through fifth innings, but the home side added insurance in the sixth. With two outs and nobody on, James Robbins ripped his second double of the game. Harold Castro followed with a line drive single over shortstop Orlando Arcia to score Robbins and give Lakeland a 3-0 lead.
Thanks to Lopez and closer Angel Nesbitt, those runs were all the Tigers needed. The 'Tees threatened twice, but could not score. In the second, Brevard had runners on first and second with two outs on back-to-back singles by Cameron Garfield and Victor Roache. However, Lopez induced an inning-ending groundout back to the mound to end the threat.
The Manatees had perhaps their best chance to score the following inning when Alfredo Rodriguez hit a leadoff single through the right side and moved to second when Lopez's pick-off throw skipped past James Robbins at first. Again, though, Lopez calmed down and escaped trouble. He induced a fly out and struck out the final two batters of the inning to keep the 'Tees off the scoreboard.
Lopez (3-3, 4.85 ERA) pitched three perfect innings and finished with six shutout frames, in total. The Lakeland righty only allowed four hits, struck out five and did not issue a walk in the winning effort. Nesbitt then finished the game off with a one-two-three seventh inning to notch his 14th save of the season.
Ross took his first loss of the season in his fourth start. The right-hander finished with three runs allowed over six innings. He surrendered six hits, walked three and struck out a pair.
The Manatees are off over the weekend with the start of Florida State League All-Star break. The 2014 All-Star Game will be on Saturday at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, beginning at 7:05 p.m. Five Manatees have been selected to represent the North Division: Garfield, RHP Tyler Wagner, RHP Damien Magnifico, RHP Tanner Poppe and LHP Jed Bradley. Poppe and Bradley will not be in attendance, as they are currently in Double-A with the Huntsville Stars.
After the All-Star break, the 'Tees return home to start a three-game series against the Dunedin Blue Jays on Monday at 6:35 p.m. to close out the first half of the season.
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Florida State League Stories from June 12, 2014
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