The St. Lucie Mets offense scored early and often on Monday, coming away with a convincing 9-4 home win over the Brevard County Manatees. The Mets collected 16 hits in the victory, one day after being held to two hits in a 13-0 loss.
The game was close at the outset, with the Manatees grabbing the lead in the top of the first. Things started out much like they did Sunday, with Mets miscues. The difference on this day was that they were able to limit the damage. Johnny Davis led off with a bunt back to the mound that Mets’ starter Casey Delgado fielded, but threw high to first and Davis was safe. Angel Ortega then hit the ball to third baseman Jhoan Urena, who couldn’t get the ball out of the webbing of his glove. That was ruled a hit and put runners at first and second.
Dustin DeMuth was next and he reached on an error when second baseman Luis Guillorme had the ball go under his glove. Davis scored on the play and Ortega went to third with nobody out. After Delgado struck out Clint Coulter, he got George Iskenderian to ground into a double play and just like that, a possible big inning was snuffed out and the Brevard County lead was 1-0.
The Mets would answer in the bottom of the second, against Manatees’ starter Angel Ventura. Tomas Nido led off with a hard hit ball to right that Coulter made a nice play on. He had the ball in his glove, but it came loose as he banged into the wall, resulting in a double. Wuilmer Becerra’s single brought Nido home and tied the game at one. Ventura then uncorked the first of two wild pitches in the inning, allowing Becerra to get to third. Patrick Biondi followed with an RBI single, giving the home team a 2-1 lead. The Mets (8-4) looked poised for more when Champ Stuart singled and stole second, putting runners at second and third. Guillorme hit one back to the mound and he threw home, getting Biondi caught in a rundown. He was eventually tagged out. The inning ended when the next batter, Amed Rosario hit into a force out at second.
Brevard County (3-9) fought back in the top of the third. Davis singled with one out and went to third when Delgado’s attempted pick off throw went by first baseman Michael Katz. Angel Ortega immediately made Delgado pay when he laced an RBI single to left, tying the game at two. After Ortega stole second, DeMuth singled him home and the Manatees regained the lead, 3-2. The lead would be short-lived.
Katz started the Mets’ third with a single and went to third on a John Mora single. A stolen base by Mora was followed by a Nido sacrifice fly, scoring Katz with the tying run. That would be all for Ventura, who lasted just 2.1 innings, thanks to his pitch count ballooning to 75 in that short stint. Kender Villegas came in from the bullpen and induced a double play grounder of the bat of Urena, ending the inning. St. Lucie added a run in the fourth when Stuart tripled and came home on a Guillorme single. They would stretch the lead to 5-3 in the fifth on a Biondi RBI single. In the bottom of the sixth, Guillorme led off with a single. It was the fifth time in six innings that the Mets first batter in the frame reached base. He scored immediately on Rosario’s triple. Rosario made it 7-3 when he came home on a Katz sac fly.
Meanwhile, Delgado had settled in nicely, he retired 12 Manatees in a row before hitting Brandon Diaz with a pitch with one out in the top of the eighth. Diaz stole second and went to third on an infield hit by Davis. That would be it for Delgado, who gave the Mets’ 7.1 innings, after a shaky start to the game. He gave way to Kevin McGowan, who gave up a sac fly to Ortega, scoring Diaz and making it 7-4. That was as close as Brevard County would get, because St. Lucie would put two runs up in the bottom of the inning, sending the Manatees home with a 9-4 loss.
Brevard County got multi-hit games from Davis, Ortega and Dustin Houle. Every starter in the St. Lucie lineup had at least one hit. Stuart led the team with a 3-for-4 night. Only two players did not cross home plate for the Mets and there were only two who didn’t drive in at least one run.
For more info: Brevard County @ St. Lucie boxscore
Brevard County travels to Lakeland Tuesday for the first of three against the Flying Tigers. Kodi Medeiros (1-1, 6.23 ERA) takes the mound for Brevard County against Jairo Labourt. Game time is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.