Starting pitcher Jorge Ortega had another masterful performance on Friday for the Brevard County Manatees and Victor Roache gave him all the runs he would need with a fourth inning homerun, leading the ‘Tees to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Ortega (4-4) finished off his third complete game of the season, throwing 96 pitches, 78 for strikes. Ortega did allow seven hits, including four doubles, but only one came back to bite him. An eighth inning two-bagger by Willy Adames scored Kean Wong with Charlotte’s only run of the night.
Charlotte starter Taylor Guerrieri, who had Tommy John surgery two years ago and was suspended for 50 games last season threw the first three innings of the game. He held the Manatees at bay, retiring all nine men he faced, striking out five on 35 pitches. The team is being cautious with him, until he gets back to full strength.
Stone Crabs reliever Eduar Quinonez (0-1) who was making his debut for Charlotte, had a night he’d rather forget. Jonathan Lucroy, making his second injury rehab start on Friday, singled with one out. After Clint Coulter flied out, Victor Roache stepped up and sent a 439-foot bomb over the centerfield wall, giving the Manatees a 2-0 lead. The ball cleared the batters’ eye in center, which is the Manatees version of the Green Monster. That long ball got many of the 2,235 in attendance out of their seats and cheering.
Taylor Brennan drew a walk and stole second base, his eighth steal of the year. That was key, because Garrett Cooper then laced a single to center, making it 3-0. That was all she wrote for Quinonez, who was pulled after 0.2 innings of work. He ended his night with a 40.50 earned run average.
With this victory, the Manatees (20-27) won their second straight and earned a split against the Florida State League’s best team. Roache’s long ball was the “Tees only extra base hit and none of the starters had a multi-hit game. None of that mattered in the long run, because they made the five hits they had, count.
For more info: Charlotte @ Brevard County boxscore
Game notes: Lucroy went 1-for-4 as the designated hitter Friday night. He is expected to be behind the plate on Saturday night.
Brevard County will start a three-game series against the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Saturday. Eric Marzec (0-2, 5.40 ERA) will look to snap his personal two-game losing streak. Game time is set for 6:35 p.m. at Space Coast Stadium.