CLEARWATER (Thursday, April 16): The Clearwater Threshers couldn't kick-start their offense until it was too late, falling 5-2 to the visiting Brevard County Manatees Thursday night in front of 1,898 fans at Bright House Field.
The Threshers (6-8) fell behind 4-0 by the fifth inning and couldn't put together a rally, dropping their second straight game and fifth of their last six contests. Three of those losses have come at the hands of the Manatees (9-5), who pounded three home runs in the game.
Brevard County opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, as Cody Hawn hammered a leadoff solo homer to left field against Clearwater starter Colin Kleven (0-3). Kleven then surrendered a ground-rule double to Brandon Macias, who moved up to third base on a fly out before coming in to score on an RBI single from Lance Roenicke. The Manatees added to their 2-0 lead just an inning later, as Chadwick Stang led off the third with a single. Stang stole second, and came home on a two-out RBI single from Hawn to make it 3-0.
The Manatees added a bit more cushion with two outs in the top of the fifth, as it was Cameron Garfield's turn to take Kleven deep. The solo blast ran the Brevard County lead to 4-0.
Clearwater got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. Catcher Logan Moore drew a one-out walk. Shortstop Jose Mojica hit a tapper back to the mound that Manatees starter Jacob Barnes (2-0) fielded but threw away, allowing Moore to reach second safely and putting runners on first and second. Second baseman Carlos Alonso came through with a two-out single to plate Moore, cutting the lead to 4-1.
Brevard County restored their advantage in the top of the eighth. Yadiel Rivera crushed the first pitch he saw from Threshers reliever Ken Giles into the bullpen for a solo home run, making it 5-1 in favor of Brevard County.
The Threshers earned a run in a ninth-inning ralley. Designated hitter Harold Martinez led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch from reliever Kevin Shackelford. Martinez moved up to third on a ground out to first, and Mojica singled him home to make it 5-2. A fly out to right and a strikeout would end the game, with the Threshers unable to erase the deficit.
Kleven took the loss, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk in 4.2 frames; he struck out six. Geoff Broussard pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in his 2013 debut, whiffing two and allowing two hits. Giles gave up a run on two hits in his first appearance of the season, fanning three batters. Ryan O'Sullivan pitched a scoreless inning, with one walk allowed.
Barnes earned the win with only a single unearned run allowed over five innings, with three hits and three walks tempered by two strikeouts. Matt Miller pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out one and giving up three hits. Shackelford got the save for his 2.1 innings of action, allowing a run on three hits and striking out two.
The Threshers will look for retribution Friday as Clearwater lefty Nick Hernandez toes the rubber against Manatees southpaw Jed Bradley. It's Prostate Cancer Awareness night at Bright House Field! Fans can come support a great cause by helping to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer. Proceeds will be donated to the Morton Plant Mease Foundation and the Ed Randall's Bat for the Cure! The first 1,000 men (14 or older) will receive a t-shirt from La Quinta Inn. Also, fans can stay and enjoy a post game concert with Bowzer from Sha Na Na! First pitch is at 6:30 p.m., and gates open up at 5:30 p.m. Ben Gellman's pregame show will begin at 6:15 on ThreshersBaseball.com.