The Brevard County Manatees and St. Lucie Mets played in the third annual Jackie Robinson Celebration game on Friday. Three Mets’ pitchers combined to strike out 16 Manatees on the night, leading the visitors to a 4-0 win at Holman Field in Vero Beach. Eight out of nine Manatees’ starters struck out at least once. The only Brevard County player to escape without a K was Omar Garcia in the nine hole. St. Lucie starter Corey Oswalt (1-0) had nine punch outs over his six innings of work and allowed the only four hits the Manatees would muster all night. The only extra base hit came off the bat of Angel Ortega, a double in the third inning. Kevin McGowan struck out five in his 2.1 innings of work and MLB-rehabber Josh Edgin struck out the only two batters he faced. The Mets struck out six straight Brevard hitters bridging the seventh and eighth innings.
The game was much closer than the score would indicate, with the difference being a forgettable fourth inning in the field for Brevard County. After Manatees’ starter Eric Hanhold got Luis Guillorme to ground out, Amed Rosario reached on a ball that shortstop Ortega fielded, but couldn’t make a clean throw to first. They officially scored it an error but it would have been tough for the play to be made on either end. Michael Katz singled to put runners at first and second. John Mora grounded into a fielders’ choice. Katz was out, but Rosario moved to third and Mora was safe at first. He would steal second a couple pitches later and that set things into motion.
With Tomas Nido batting, Brevard County catcher Dustin Houle faked a throw to second and threw to third. The ball went over Jose Cuas’ head at third and down the left field line. Rosario scored and as the throw came in from left field, Houle couldn’t corral it, allowing Mora to score and giving St. Lucie a 2-0 lead. Nido ended his at bat with a single, but Hanhold came back to strike out the next hitter, ending the inning. Hanhold (0-1) was saddled with the loss, despite not giving up an earned run. He was pulled after giving up a ground-rule double to Mora with two outs in the sixth. He allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one on 74 pitches, 46 of those for strikes.
The Mets (6-3) added a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Patrick Biondi, against reliever Jon Olczak. The final St. Lucie run came in the ninth on a solo homer by Jhoan Urena. It was his first Florida State League long ball and it came against Josh Uhen, who was making his third appearance of the season for the Manatees.
For more info: St. Lucie @ Brevard County boxscore
Game two of this series will take place Saturday at Space Coast Stadium. Bubba Derby (1-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to start for Brevard County, while the Mets will counter with Ricky Knapp (1-0, 0.00). Game time is 6:35 p.m.