Brevard County starter Brandon Woodruff struck out a career-high 10 Daytona Tortugas Tuesday night and the Manatees offense backed him up with 10 hits, leading to a 5-1 ‘Tees victory in front of 1,120 fans at Space Coast Stadium.
Woodruff (3-5) pitched 6.2 solid innings, giving up one unearned run on five hits and walking two. He threw 106 pitches. “I feel like the last few outings I’ve felt pretty good,” Woodruff said. “Just felt like the big thing tonight was establishing the fastball early on, so that helped me out a ton.”
The Manatees (22-27, 51-67 overall) offense helped him out a ton as well, scoring all five runs in the first two innings of the game. Daytona starter Nick Routt started the game by hitting Omar Garcia, leading off the bottom of the first. Chris McFarland’s single moved Garcia to third and Clint Coulter drove a ball deep to center, plating Garcia with the first run. Routt then issued back-to-back walks to Garrett Cooper and Taylor Brennan, loading the bases. Dustin Houle stepped up and hit a fly ball to center, scoring McFarland and giving the Manatees a 2-0 lead.
“It’s always good for a pitcher whenever early on the offense is going,” said Woodruff. “You can settle down and just go out there and worry about throwing strikes and letting your defense play.”
Daytona (30-19, 67-52 overall) committed three errors in the game, the first coming in the bottom of the second, allowing Jose Pena to reach base. Steven Halcomb moved him to second with a single and Garcia sacrificed both runners over with a bunt toward first. That brought McFarland to the plate and he roped a single to left, scoring two and upping the Manatees lead to 4-0. After Coulter drew a walk, Routt’s night was done. He was replaced by Scott Brattvet. Cooper greeted him with an RBI single, making it a 5-0 game. Routt (5-3) lasted just 1.1 innings, giving up five runs – four earned – on three hits and walked three.
McFarland went 2-for-5 in the game, Coulter went 2-for-2 and Cooper was 3-for-4. Only three Manatees’ players in the starting lineup, did not have a hit. Carlton Daal had the only multi-hit game for the Tortugas, going 2-for-3.
Woodruff meanwhile, was rolling along. He struck out at least one Daytona batter from the second inning on, including striking out the side in the sixth. “He did a good job,” said Brevard County manager Joe Ayrault of his pitcher. “He was aggressive with his fastball, got ahead and got some big outs when we needed him to. He had his change-up working pretty well tonight, too.”
The Tortugas finally got on the board in the fifth inning, which included a couple hits and a passed ball. Jeff Gelalich had an RBI single in the inning, making it a 5-1 game. Got a little shaky there,” said Woodruff. “I settled down and re-focused and was able to hit my spots… that was the main thing.”
Woodruff, who has made a couple appearances since returning from an oblique injury that landed him on the disabled list, said he felt pretty good. “I haven’t had any problems,” he said. Credit that to our trainer Tommy Craig. He’s done a really good job.”
Trevor Seidenberger came in to get the final out of the seventh and pitched into the ninth, before allowing two runners to reach. Preston Gainey was called on to get the final two outs and did just that, getting Junior Arias to ground into a game-ending, double play. For Gainey, it was his seventh save of the season.
For more info: Daytona @ Brevard County boxscore
The home-at-home series shifts back to Daytona tonight, as the two teams play a doubleheader. Manatees hurler Wei-Chung Wang (9-4, 3.72 ERA) will be opposed by Amir Garrett (8-6, 2.52 ERA) in game one. Zach Hirsch (1-2, 5.09 ERA) will gets the call for the Manatees in game two, against Seth Varner (1-4, 4.32 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.