The Brevard County Manatees scored their third straight victory on Saturday, with a 14-0 victory over the Lakeland Flying Tigers in game one of a three-game series. Saturday’s result ended Shriners weekend on a high note, in front of 1,663 at Space Coast Stadium.
The Manatees (21-27) were on fire up and down the lineup. They batted around twice, with every starter getting at least one hit. They also sent eight hitters to the plate in the fourth inning. Omar Garcia, who got off to a very slow start at the beginning of the season, has been hitting well of late and Saturday was no exception. He finished 4-for-5 with a run scored. Angel Ortega also went 4-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored.
The fireworks started in the second inning for Brevard County, who knocked around Lakeland starter Jonathan Maciel, who surrendered six runs in that inning. Victor Roache walked to start the inning and went to third on a Taylor Brennan double. Garrett Cooper drove in his fourth run in as many nights, as he singled home Roache to give the Manatees a 1-0 lead.
Brennan scored moments later when Steven Halcomb reached on an error, making it 2-0. Ortega followed with a single of his own to up the lead to 3-0. Garcia then laid down a successful bunt, loading the bases. One out later, the rehabbing Jonathan Lucroy singled home Halcomb to make it 4-0. The final two runs of the inning came on a two-run single by Roache.
Maciel threw 36 pitches in the inning and because of the Lakeland bullpen being overworked in their previous series, he was left to battle through. The Manatees were not sympathetic, as they kept the pressure on, adding a single run in the fourth on a double by Garcia, which scored Ortega, to boost the lead to seven.
The fourth inning would be the last of the night for Maciel, but not before the Manatees added to his misery. Clint Coulter drew a one out walk and Roache followed with a single. Brennan then doubled to left, giving the Manatees an 8-0 lead. Cooper was next up and he struck out. Lakeland catcher Grayson Greiner couldn’t handle it, but he thought the ball was fouled off. He thought wrong and Roache scored, while Cooper was safe at first and the Manatees led 9-0.
Maciel was finally lifted after that sequence, but reliever Nate Fury was not able to stop the bleeding in the fourth. After Halcomb was retired, Ortega got another RBI single, which put the ‘Tees up by double digits. A single by Garcia followed and it was 11-0, before the Flying Tigers got out of the inning.
Lost in the offensive explosion for Brevard County, was the pitching performance by starter Eric Marzec. He had struggled in his previous two outings, but pitched very well on this night, allowing just three hits in six innings of work, walking one and striking out one. He threw 82 pitches, 51 for strikes. Marzec came into the game with a 5.40 ERA and left with a much more respectable 3.38 and improved his record to 1-2.
Francisco Martinez, who started the game as Lakeland’s third baseman was thrown to the wolves in the eighth inning, as he made his first career appearance on the mound. He was greeted by a Coulter double. Coulter was the only Manatee without an RBI on the night, but he did score two runs.
After Martinez retired Roache, he gave up back-to-back walks to Brennan and Cooper to load the bases. Halcomb was hit by a pitch to make it 12-0. Ortega singled again to score Brennan, boosting the lead to a baker’s dozen. Chris McFarland then broke a 0-for-10 slump, with an RBI single, to end the scoring at 14. Manny Barreda, who pitched a scoreless eighth finished things off with a 1-2-3 ninth.
For more info: Lakeland @ Brevard County boxscore
Wei-Chung Wang (2-2, 6.39) will look to keep the winning streak going on Sunday, when he takes the mound for the Manatees. He will face Ryan Longstreth (2-3, 2.66). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m.