It was a long night at the ballpark Friday for the Brevard County Manatees. After waiting out a two hour 19 minute rain delay in game one, Brevard County dropped a 2-1 decision. The Threshers completed the sweep with a 7-0 win in game two.
The Manatees broke on top in game one, scoring a run in the bottom of the second against Clearwater starter Ricardo Pinto. Taylor Brennan started things with a single and came home two outs later, when Michael Ratterree laced a double over the head of Andrew Pullin in left field, giving the Manatees a 1-0 lead.
Johnny Hellweg (1-6) who has struggled at times with his control in his last couple starts, pitched well for the Manatees in game one. He went six innings for the first time this season and kept the Threshers off the board through four frames. He struck out two and walked three. In the fifth inning, the Threshers made their only productive inning stand up.
Malquin Canelo dropped a bunt base hit toward third to start the inning. One out later, Jesmuel Valentin drew a walk and Carlos Tocci loaded the bases with a single to right. Pullin came up and drilled a two out double to left, scoring both runners ahead of him and giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Brevard County (25-34, 54-74) would threaten in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases themselves. Angel Ortega and Omar Garcia would start the frame with infield singles against Jesen Dygestile-Therrien. Chris McFarland moved both runners 90 feet, with a sacrifice bunt. Therrien would intentionally walk Clint Coulter, to face Brennan. Brennan got a pitch to hit and drilled one to third, scooped up by Derek Campbell, who turned the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Miguel Nunez was called on to close the door in the seventh, but the Manatees did not go quietly. Dustin Houle led off with a single and ‘Tees manager Joe Ayrault would pull him for pinch-runner Jose Pena. A sacrifice bunt by Rafael Neda moved Houle to second. After Michael Ratterree struck out, Steven Halcomb hit a sinking liner to left, which looked like it would drop in. Pullin kept coming and made a full extension dive, robbing Halcomb of the possible game-tying RBI and ending the game.
For more info: Clearwater @ Brevard County boxscore (game 1)
Pinto (8-2, 2.45 ERA) worked five innings for Clearwater, picking up the victory. He allowed just four hits and the one run to the Manatees. Nunez picked up his eighth save of the season.
Game two started at 10:00 p.m. and was over early. Clearwater scored four runs in the third inning and cruised to a 7-0 win. Manatees’ starter Cy Sneed (3-4) lasted just four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits. None of those four runs were earned.
The decisive third inning was keyed by an error by Halcomb on a grounder to short by Tocci, putting runners at first and second. Pullin then picked up his third RBI of the doubleheader, with a single to left, scoring Valentin. Rhys Hoskins followed with a single, loading the bases for Aaron Brown. His sacrifice fly made it 2-0. Chace Numata and Canelo hit back-to-back RBI singles, giving the visitors a 4-0 lead.
Valentin’s sacrifice fly in the sixth made it 5-0 and Brown put an exclamation point on the proceedings with a two-run home run against Zach Hirsch, who relieved Sneed in the top of the fifth.
For more info: Clearwater @ Brevard County boxscore (game 2)
David Whitehead (8-11) gave the Threshers five innings of shutout baseball, to earn the victory. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out three. Hirsch pitched three innings in relief for the Manatees, allowing four hits and three runs. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.
Brevard County will try to salvage the final game of the series Saturday night, sending Javi Salas (8-8, 4.21 ERA) to the mound, against Mark Leiter, Jr. (6-1, 2.04 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.