DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Celebrations for the Fourth of July were abundant, but the Brevard County Manatees were not able to celebrate a win as they fell 3-1 to the Daytona Cubs on Thursday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
After Brevard County (8-5 second half, 45-35 overall) starting pitcher Brent Suter (7-5, 3.01 ERA) retired the first eight men that he faced, Pin-Chieh Chen popped up a bunt that fell for an infield single in the bottom of the third inning. Tim Saunders followed with a two-run home run that put Daytona (8-4, 43-35) on the board first and ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Suter was able to escape further damage in the frame as he left two runners on base after allowing back-to-back singles to Wes Darvill and Javier Baez following the Saunders homer. The Manatees' southpaw also yielded a solo homer to Dustin Geiger in the sixth as the Cubs took a 3-0 lead.
The night ended for Suter after 5.2 innings as the lefty allowed six hits, struck out three and tied a season-high with three walks.
Matt Miller took the ball for the final 2.1 innings for the Manatees and had one of his best outings of the season as he held Cubs scoreless with just one hit allowed and no walks. He also fanned two men.
Brevard County had trouble figuring out Daytona starting pitcher Ben Wells as he held the Manatees scoreless for seven innings, while allowing just two hits and a walk.
The 'Tees avoided the shutout in the top of the ninth inning when Brandon Macias doubled, advanced on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch for the lone run of the night for Brevard County. Along with Macias, Mitch Haniger and Greg Hopkins collected the other two hits on the night for the Manatees.
The two teams will return to Space Coast Stadium in Viera on Friday night for the rubber match of their three-game set, with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. Brevard County will send Damien Magnifico (0-0, 4.66) to the mound, where he will be opposed by Daytona's Zach Cates (7-6, 4.03).