Wagner's Stellar Night Leads 'Tees over Tigers, 3-1
LAKELAND, Fla. - Behind another dominant performance by Tyler Wagner (8-4, 1.74 ERA), the Brevard County Manatees upended the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 3-1 at Joker Marchant Stadium on Wednesday night.
From the get go, Wagner was locked in. The Las Vegas native worked around a jam in the third and caught fire in the middle innings.
After a lead-off single by Chad Wright in the fourth, Wagner went on to retire 16 straight batters. It ended when Connor Harrell's home run in the bottom of the ninth snapped his 27.1 scoreless inning streak.
Wagner's night ended after he walked the next batter, Jeff McVaney, on five pitches. The former fifth round pick finished with one run allowed on five hits. He walked one and tied a season-high with nine strikeouts in a year-best 8.1 innings of work.
In his last four starts, Wagner is 4-0 with an unfathomable 0.32 earned run average. He has surrendered just 12 hits and walked seven batters, which gives him an equally stellar 0.70 WHIP. With his effort tonight, Wagner now has a Florida State League-leading 1.74 ERA.
Mark Williams came out of the bullpen and had trouble locating the strike zone, but was able to close out Wagner's victory and end the Manatees (11-6 second half, 47-36 overall) three-game losing streak. After walking the bases loaded with two outs, Williams forced James Robbins to ground out to first to end the threat and the ball game.
The 'Tees gave Wagner some early run support, courtesy of an unsung hero. In the top of the third, Alfredo Rodriguez crushed a 0-1 pitch from Flying Tigers (4-15, 46-40) starter Josh Turley (7-1, 1.85) onto the berm in left for his first home run of the season. The solo shot gave Brevard the lead, 1-0.
Two innings later, Rodriguez struck again. Following a lead-off single by Parker Berberet, Rodriguez slapped one down the line in right. The ball rolled into the corner, which allowed Berberet to score from first with ease. Rodriguez motored into third with an RBI triple and the Brevard advantage was stretched to two.
After Nathan Orf struck out and Orlando Arcia flew out to shallow right, Tyrone Taylor delivered the next big blow. The top prospect drove a ball into deep left-center field, but it seemed as if Major League rehabber Andy Dirks was going to track it down.
However, the ball caromed off the edge of glove and rolled to the wall. Rodriguez was able to walk home and Taylor hustled into third with the second run-scoring triple of the game to increase the Manatees lead to 3-0.
With the win, Brevard County handed Turley his first loss of the season. The left-hander had a solid game, but was no match for Wagner tonight. Turley allowed all three runs on eight hits over seven frames. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
Overall, the Manatees had another quality offensive performance. Three players - Berberet, Rodriguez and Victor Roache - recorded two-hit games. As well, the 'Tees tallied five extra-base hits - two doubles, two triples and a home run - en route to victory.
Brevard County and Lakeland will meet again tomorrow at Joker Marchant Stadium with the rubber match slated for 6:30 p.m. Hobbs Johnson (9-6, 3.23) will look to pick up his FSL-best 10th win against Lakeland's right-hander Yorfrank Lopez (4-6, 4.60).
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