The three-game series between the Brevard County Manatees and Lakeland Flying Tigers wrapped up Thursday night with Lakeland winning another low scoring game, 2-1. The game was delayed in the seventh inning due to rain and did not resume.
The tight, close nature of the ballgame was no surprise. Game one of the series was won by Lakeland 1-0 and the Manatees answered on Monday, with a 2-1 victory. Pitching has been the story all series long and Tuesday was no exception. Wei-Chung Wang went six innings for the Manatees and Lakeland’s Kevin Ziomek matched that effort.
Wang (9-6) blinked first, giving up a run in the second inning. After getting the first two outs, Wang gave up a single to Ben Verlander. Jared Reaves hit one to shortstop that Angel Ortega couldn’t field, putting runners at first and second. Grayson Greiner then smacked an RBI single to left, giving the Flying Tigers a 1-0 lead.
The score remained that way until the fourth inning when Omar Garcia started things with a single. As has been the case so many times this season, Garcia took matters into his own hands from there. After Chris McFarland flied out, Garcia stole second and then took third moments later. For Garcia, those were stolen bases number 50 and 51 on the season.
Clint Coulter, who had a birds-eye view of Garcia’s stolen bases from home plate, hit a sacrifice fly, bringing Garcia home with the tying run. Taylor Brennan followed with a double and then he followed in Garcia’s tracks, stealing third. He was stranded there when Dustin Houle grounded to first.
That missed opportunity would prove costly, because the Flying Tigers scored the decisive tally in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Tyler Hanover singled. Ismael Salgado hit into a force play at second, taking Hanover off the bases, but Salgado reached safely. Raph Rhymes was next up and he rifled a double to center, plating Salgado and giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The Manatees got one more at-bat in the sixth and McFarland hit a two-out double, but with rain falling in the top of the seventh, the umpiring crew decided to call it.
Wang took the loss for the Manatees, giving up six hits in his six innings of work. He allowed one earned run and struck out three, while walking none. He definitely deserved a better fate, but was outdueled by Ziomek, who allowed only three hits, while striking out five.
For more info: Lakeland @ Brevard County boxscore
After a league-wide off-day on Wednesday, the Manatees will return home to start a six-game homestand against Clearwater on Thursday. The starting pitchers have not been named, but first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.