Timely Doubles, Williams' Nine K's Lead 'Tees Past D-Jays
DUNEDIN, Fla. - A pair of clutch doubles in the sixth inning, coupled with a strong pitching performance by starter Taylor Williams lifted the Brevard County Manatees past the Dunedin Blue Jays on Sunday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 3-2.
Brevard County (27-27 second half, 63-57 overall) trailed 2-1 at the start of the sixth, but a couple of big extra-base hits turned the tides. After a one-out single by Michael Reed against Jays reliever Chad Girodo, Victor Roache banged a line drive double off the left field wall to score Reed and tie the game, 2-2.
Girodo (6-3, 2.45 ERA) struck out the next man he faced and was one out from escaping the inning with the score still tied. Parker Berberet, however, had other ideas. The 'Tees catcher hit a tailing fly ball to right-center field that dropped just out of the reach of D-Jays centerfielder Dwight Smith, Jr. Berberet cruised into second and Roache scored to give Brevard a 3-2 lead.
The Manatees' lead could have been larger if not for a great throw by Smith. After Berberet's go-ahead double, the Blue Jays (27-29, 73-52) went to the bullpen and brought in right-hander Wil Browning. The first man Browning faced was Alfredo Rodriguez and he grounded a single up the middle. Berberet tried to score from second, but Smith gunned him down at home to end the inning.
Williams (1-1, 1.80 ERA) was the story on the hill for the Manatees. In his third start since being promoted from Class-A Wisconsin, the right-hander struck out nine men over seven innings. Williams gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits and did not issue a walk.
Despite Williams' strong start, Brevard County had to battle back twice against the D-Jays. In the first inning, a throwing error by shortstop Orlando Arcia put Dunedin leadoff hitter Christian Lopes on second base. Smith later doubled him home to give the Jays an early 1-0 advantage.
The 'Tees came back to tie the game in the third on a double play ball that scored Nathan Orf, but Dunedin answered and regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and nobody on, L.B. Dantzler sent a Williams offering over the right field wall for a solo home run that put the Jays back on top, 2-1.
After Roache and Berberet helped the Manatees climb back, the Jays gave the Manatees a scare in the eighth inning. In his first inning of relief, Tyler Spurlin loaded the bases with two outs on a single and a pair of walks.
With the 'Tees clinging to a one-run lead, Stephen Peterson came in from the bullpen to get Brevard out of the jam. The lefty did just that, as he struck out Dantzler to end the inning and preserve the lead. Peterson then came back out for the ninth and set the Jays down in order for his fourth save of the season.
After taking the final two games of the series, the Manatees captured two out of three games from Dunedin. The 'Tees return home on Monday for a pair of games against the Tampa Yankees. First pitch at Space Coast Stadium is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Tyler Wagner (12-5, 1.68 ERA) is set to start for Brevard against Miguel Sulbaran (3-3, 3.08 ERA).
For more information on the Brevard County Manatees, call (321) 633-9200 or go online to ManateesBaseball.com. Also, don't forget to like the Manatees on Facebook and follow the Manatees both on Twitter and Instagram.
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