The Brevard County Manatees put 11 hits on the board at Clearwater on Saturday, but couldn’t get the big knock they needed in 6-1 loss to the Threshers, in front of 7,260 fans at Bright House Field. The loss is the Manatees’ sixth in a row.
Clearwater put a big two-out rally together in the first inning, with Brevard County starting pitcher Angel Ventura allowing two walks and a wild pitch early and then giving up RBI singles to Mitch Walding and Zach Green, making it a 2-0 ballgame. Drew Stankiewicz followed with an RBI double and Chace Numata’s two-run single capped the scoring at 5-0, after one. The Manatees had their chances throughout the night, but proceeded to leave 14 men on base, many of them against Clearwater starter Tyler Viza. He was constantly able to find the pitch he needed and his defense did a good job behind him, much of the night.
Ventura (0-2) pitched well after that first inning, retiring 10 in a row at one point. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. He allowed five runs on four hits in four innings of work. He walked three and struck out four, throwing 74 pitches, 44 for strikes. His struggles continued the Manatees’ futility on the mound. They can’t get a starter anywhere near a quality start and are constantly forced to dip into the bullpen early. Saturday was no different. Clint Terry was called on to start the fifth and he immediately found trouble. Scott Kingery, Cord Sandberg and Carlos Tocci all singled to start the inning. Terry battled back to get Kyle Martin to ground into a double play, but that allowed Kingery to score and make it 6-0, in favor of the home team.
Viza (3-0) was done after six innings of work, allowing seven hits and striking out five. He gave way to Jairo Munoz to start the seventh and it looked like Brevard County (3-14) was poised to dent the scoreboard. Omar Garcia drew a one out walk and Johnny Davis singled to put runners at first and second. Angel Ortega’s fly out to center moved Garcia to third. With Davis still at first, he bluffed toward second and got Munoz to throw to first, resulting in a balk. Garcia scored and Davis went to second… but not for long.
Clearwater manager Greg Legg came out of the dugout and made his case to the umpires. After a short discussion with Legg and then Manatees’ manager Joe Ayrault, the call was reversed and the runners were sent back. After Clint Coulter walked to load the bases, Munoz struck out Dustin DeMuth to end the inning. The frustration of that inning sums up Brevard’s season in the early going. The top of the order finally got the Manatees on the board in the ninth. Davis and Ortega hit back-to-back singles. Coulter hit into a fielders’ choice, as they forced Davis at third. DeMuth salvaged something from the inning when he followed with a single to center, scoring Ortega. With runners at first and second, Dustin Houle grounded into a force out at second and the game was over.
For more info: Brevard County @ Clearwater boxscore
Ortega finished the night 3-for-5 for the Manatees, bringing his team leading average up to .361. Davis went 2-for-5 and is hitting .269, good for second on the team. Kingery had the only two hit night for the Threshers.
The series wraps up Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Kodi Medeiros (1-2, 9.82 ERA) will try to snap the Brevard County losing streak. He will be opposed by Will Morris (0-1, 2.79).