After two rainouts in St. Lucie on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by one in Brevard County on Friday, the Brevard County Manatees and St. Lucie Mets wrapped up what was left of a four-game series on Saturday. The two teams played a doubleheader at Space Coast Stadium, with the Mets winning game one, 5-1 and the Manatees winning game two, 6-4.
Game two and three of the series, which were scheduled to be made up as part of a doubleheader on Friday, were washed out and will not be made up.
Saturday’s doubleheader looked to be in trouble as well, but after a two hour and 20 minute rain delay, the game finally got underway.
Game one was resumed from Wednesday, with the Manatees leading 1-0 in the bottom of the first. They grabbed that lead when Omar Garcia singled and stole second. He stole third one out later and came home on Clint Coulter’s sacrifice fly. That lead didn’t last long, as St. Lucie scored three runs in the bottom of the inning and cruised from there.
Jorge Ortega, who took over for Wednesday’s starter Wei-Chung Wang, did not have his normal, dominating stuff. Yeixon Ruiz and Jeff McNeil greeted him with back-to-back singles and pulled off a double steal, shortly thereafter. Ruiz scored on a groundout by Maikis De La Cruz and Matt Oberste’s double plated McNeil, giving St. Lucie a 2-0 lead. Stefan Sabol’s RBI single capped the three-run frame.
Brevard County managed just four hits in game one, two of them after the game resumed. Logan Taylor, who took over for Wednesday’s starter Mickey Jannis, allowed just two hits over five innings Saturday and improved his record to 5-7. He walked four and struck out three.
The Mets added a run in the third on Oberste’s RBI single that scored De La Cruz, who doubled to start the inning. That duo would strike again in the fifth when De La Cruz singled and went to third on an error. He came home on Oberste’s RBI knock, giving the Mets the 5-1 lead.
Oberste ended the day 3-for-3 with three RBI and De La Cruz went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Ruiz finished 3-for-4 on the day.
For more info: Brevard @ St. Lucie boxscore
Game two of the doubleheader got underway at 10:11 p.m. St. Lucie picked up right where they left off in game one, scoring four times in the top of the first inning against Manatees starter Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff, who was making his first start since June 24 at Lakeland, had been on the disabled list with an oblique injury.
Ruiz started the inning with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a groundout by McNeil. Dominic Smith knocked him in with a single left. De La Cruz followed with a single, which was mishandled by Jose Pena in right field, allowing Smith to move to third. Oberste continued to swing a hot bat, knocking them both in with a double to center, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. They tacked on another with Sabol’s RBI single.
Brevard County (13, 14 42-54) came right back in the bottom of the inning, tagging St. Lucie starter Miller Diaz for three runs. Garcia got things started for the Manatees with a walk. He promptly stole second and two outs later, swiped third. He scored on a wild pitch, moments later.
“Garcia set the tone for us,” said Manatees manager Joe Ayrault. “Getting his knock, stealing second and third and scoring on a wild pitch.”
Garrett Cooper drew a walk and went to second on a single by Taylor Brennan. Michael Ratterree was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Jose Pena was next to the plate and he made up for that error in the top of the inning, with a two-run single to center, closing the gap to 4-3.
“That was nice,” said Ayrault, of Pena’s single. “Hit the second base bag and popped up over the infielders, so that definitely helped us. It was big for our offense being down 4-0, these guys showed a lot of heart scoring the three runs.”
Woodruff would give up a single to McNeil in the second, but made it through the inning. He was done after two innings of work.
“He was at a 35-pitch limit, trying to get him back after his injury,” said Ayrault. “A little bit of tough luck in there, but at least his stuff was there and he’s healthy. It was good to get him back in there.”
Tristan Archer took over for Woodruff and pitched lights out in relief. He went the final five innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six. “That was one of his best performances of the year,” said Ayrault. “He came up big for us.”
Archer (2-4) was rewarded for his efforts in the fifth inning, when the Manatees scored three runs, turning a one run deficit into a two run lead. After Cooper singled to start the inning, Brennan stepped up and hit a 381-foot blast over the left-centerfield wall, giving the Manatees a 5-4 lead. It was his third homer of the season.
“He’s been swinging the bat pretty well and using the whole field,” said Ayrault, when asked about Brennan’s homer after the game. “It was huge for us, being down one run. He got a good pitch to hit and drove it.”
Ratterree followed with a single and went to second on a groundout by Pena. He advanced to third on a Diaz wild pitch and came home on a bloop single off the bat of Angel Ortega. That gave the Manatees a 6-4 lead and Archer made it stand up, with two more shutout innings.
The Mets (14-14, 49-49) got a 2-for-3 night from Oberste in game two. He went 5-for-6 in the two games, with five RBI.
For more info: St. Lucie @ Brevard County boxscore (game 2)
Brevard County will start a four-game series at home against the Palm Beach Cardinals later today (Sunday) at 5:05 p.m.